Has anyone noticed....


Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
Harrow, Middlesex
Despite some doom and gloom on here at its inception, the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme does seem to be achieving some success. I mention that now because it's presently being extended east and west, and as I work in Central London a good bit of the time, I could not fail to notice that LOADS of the hideous things are being happily pedalled around.

I wouldn't be seen dead on one personally - they look most unattractive - but maybe they can't look too desirable or they might get nicked wholesale. I can see the point in having a machine which uses completely non-standard parts because one of the problems with 'normal' bikes is that they can be profitably stripped and the parts re-used. I can't see anyone wanting to cannibalize parts off one of those things.

Does anyone know of any 'background' information, such as how the service operation is keeping up (it certainly appears to) and also whether the logistics work - I don't often see parking bays completely full or completely empty, so operationally the system looks to be working well enough. Also if anyone on here uses the scheme how do they feel about it?



Oct 25, 2006
There are logistical problems Rog, particularly the same one that the Paris Velib scheme suffered, bikes ending up in excess in some places and deficits in others, so transport and staff have to be arranged to cart batches of bikes around to make up for that.

The other major problem is that it's not getting the money in that had been forecast, this intended to partly pay for it. Instead of half the journeys being longer paid for ones as forecast, almost none are. People predominantly use them only for the free period, half an hour I think, while some drop off a bike just short of that, wait a few minutes and take another to complete their journey in two free halves. For that reason they had to go back to Barclays for more cash, but Barclays are making reluctant sounds about there being any more to follow.

The Paris scheme got to the brink of collapse before being rescued by a hidden subsidy, and I think this one will have the same future. People will use the bikes if they are free, but if forced to pay I think they'll drop from favour very quickly. The taxpayer will end up footing the whole bill.