The frequent visitor to London doesn’t ever suffer from a lack of ways to get around. There’s the London Underground, the iconic double-decker busses…not to mention those black cabs. Well, now visitors and natives alike have a new way to see Central London. It’s a new bicycle rental scheme that comes courtesy of London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson. Mr. Johnson, a Conservative, has said that he likes the throwback nature of the idea. He once quipped: “If you can’t turn the clock back to 1904, what’s the point of being a Conservative?” That said, there’s a snazzy online journey planner, not to mention apps galore for smart phone users. As you can see at right, the bikes are not Tour de France racers. But then again, they’re not meant to be. In fact, they’re build for comfort and durability, and yet they have a few tech tricks to keep the modern cyclist happy. In just a few weeks since the plan launched, there have already been more than 100,000 rides on the bikes. There are also the requisite problems, or fears of problems to be precise. Well, to get the skinny on the new bike scheme, we’ve got Londoner and Lonely Planet Editor (not to mention avid cyclist!) Tom Hall on the podcast to give us his take on the “Boris Bikes.” Be sure to check Tom’s blog post on “Silly Ways to Use the London Cycle Hire Scheme.” Priceless. Here’s a pretty good list of other places around the world where you can find schemes like this. And here’s the bike sharing idea for Denver that has one of Colorado’s gubernatorial candidates in a huff about the coming take-over of US cities by the United Nations.
Tom also fills us in on a new hotel that’s opening up in London. It’s called the Tune Hotel, and it sounds a lot like the Ryan Air model has finally come down to earth. Sure, for 35 pounds you get a room. But if you want towels, or TV, or room service, well…that will be extra. At least it looks like Tune doesn’t charge you for using the bathroom!
So, what do you think? Would you stay at the Tune Hotel and pay extra for towels? Leave a comment below.
Ah, and here’s a short video about the London cycle hire scheme:
(Photo: Mark Boyce)