Sunday, September 04, 2011

Boris Bikes

Just beside the building next door we now how a rack of bicycles for hire. They are spreading all over the city and inner areas. Barely two hundred metres away in the beginning of Queens Road, there is another rack.

London and Paris both have bicycle schemes, but theirs are much more successful because bicycle helmets aren't required to be worn by law as they are here. I believe, no, I will check... Right, there are some helmet vending machines but mostly they are available from 7 11 stores. The 7 11 near us has them and they cost $5. From the website, they look a bit like a pudding bowl on your head. R, who does not like bicycles, is tempted to have a ride. I think it is a great scheme. I wonder if Sydney is getting into it yet. I just imagine the atrocious Alan Jones ranting on the airwaves about it.

I was amused by Ian Visits blog, when he and a friend hired bikes in London, took them on the Eurostar to Paris, rode around all day, and had them back in London that night.

Anyway, named after the Mayor of London, Boris Johnston, their bikes have been nicknamed Boris Bikes. Catchy isn't it. We should have a name for our bikes. Let's see. Melbourne's Lord Mayor is Robert Doyle. Rob Bikes? Nah, I've got it. A common nickname for Robert is Bob, so we have Bob Bikes. Will it catch on?

But for Sydney, with a mayor called Clover Moore, well, I am not sure much naming can be done there. Moore Bikes. No.


  1. Hello Andrew:
    'Bob's Bikes' does sound as though it could catch on, much in the same way as the ever increasingly unpopular Mayor of London's 'Boris' Bikes' appears to have done. But to have to wear a helmet - now that is entirely something else! We rather admire the initiative of taking a bike on Eurostar to Paris, but think that it would have been much cheaper to have hired a bike once there.

  2. I like the idea of bikes for hire, but the helmets are a problem.
    If you don't plan on biking on a regular basis, then it seems a ridiculous expense to buy a proper safety helmet.
    If there are also helmets for hire, will they be the right size? Will they be certified as safe? What if they have been in an accident? What if the previous wearer has oily hair, dandruff, lice?

  3. JayLa, Mayor Boris was popular at some point? I am sure you are right about hiring a bike in Paris. Paris was the first place we saw public bicycles. Compulsory helmets may well spoil our scheme.

    River, you don't hire them, but buy them for $5. It is subsidised. Hiring was suggested, but as you say, the yuck factor prevailed.

  4. Anonymous10:09 pm

    When in Melbourne recently, I also saw cars that can be hired in much the same way as those bikes. I'd heard of those schemes (cars) in other countries but didn't realise it had started in Aus. I think it's a great idea and I'd look into it if I lived in Melbourne. Wonder if it will ever happen here... V.

  5. Oh, I wish they had bikes for rent around here. When I was in college, our town had a place where you could rent small motorcyles, and we had so much fun on the weekends with those things.

  6. Anonymous11:02 am

    They could nickname them 'Onya' bikes.

    Sydney is to hilly to cycle around, so wouldn't be vary popular.

  7. Yep V. A couple of companies do it. Been around for a while. I just heard there are some even in Glen Waverley.

    Towanda, you will have to get your own bike and hopefully use it more than I use mine.

    Marvellously Australian Anon.

  8. Clover Moore's Sydney City Council has just installed many kilometres of bicycle lanes at an expense of tens of millions dollars and most of the lanes are at the additonal expense of one lane of car traffic.

    Alan Jones, as your (if I can create a new term) post-prescient comment suggested savaged Moore about this development. In response Moore argued that many cyclists will be encouraged to cycle to/from work using the new laneways. This generated an almost hysterical reaction from Jones who discovered that Moore had obtained approval from her own council for the creation of off street parking at her own home. To add to the inslut in Jones' view, Moore is chauffered to/from work (so he alleges, anyway).

    You can imagine Jones' glee when Moore used the typical politician's photo opportunity to mark the completion of the cycleways by making a symbolic bike ride of her own only to fall from the bike and damage her foot. She was on crutches for some time afterwards.

  9. Victor, I have heard some of what you wrote. I didn't know about Clover's foot though. No doubt your memory of her is as long if not longer than mine. I suppose in the eastern and northern suburbs of Sydney, Jones is a laughing stock, as he is here. I can't comment on the cycle ways as I only know Jones and the Terrograph perspective.

  10. I've used the bikes lots for a year as they had a station near my apartment and one where I work. They are good as I had no bike after mine got stolen. I have my own bike again now so will use less, but I think I will still use them if I only want to go one way on a bike.
    I bought my own helmet, no real hassle to take it with me, though there would have been more times I would have used the bikes if I didn't need a helmet.

  11. Katya, given the short distances that are ridden in slow traffic moving areas and not many kids use them, would you agree that they should be exempt from the helmet laws?

  12. Yeah I think so, also somewhere recently I saw some stats that there are very few crashes using these bixi bikes. They are very heavy and therefore more stable, but also I guess people using them tend to be newbies or occasional riders so more cautious.
    The helmet thing is tricky, I think I am for personal choice, but would probably wear a helmet myself.