Boris Bikes

Walking and Cycling London, originally uploaded by kdt.

We rode Boris Bikes on each of our four days in London. I distinctly recall being amazed a the number of docking stations when sitting on my couch back in Adelaide when I looked at the docking station PDF. But, in a variation of Murphy’s Law, you can never seem to find one when you are on the bike looking for one to leave you bike and when you don’t need one.

Here is our list of dos an don’ts

1) make sure you have a map of docking stations – that may help overcome the Murphy’s law variation described above.

2) download a map app and mount your iPhone to the handlebar – it will save you cycling the wrong direction for 20 minutes. We tried to head to the Victoria and Albert museum but somehow ended up in the inner east!?!

3) make sure when you dock the bike, that the lights appear. We didn’t get the lights once and went for a little walk only to be prevented from picking up the two required bikes. This then involves a phone call and walking back to the original docking station.

4) Do cycle near Buckingham Palace at 11:00am, it is lot easier to ride on the road (no cars) than walking.


1) Ride the wrong way up a one-way street. (There are many of those!) The friendly police become less friendly.

2) Avoid the roads near Buckingham Palace at 11:00am. I am throwing out a big hello to the 10s of thousands of tourists who have taken a photo of the Australian couple cycling around the Palace. We were the only traffic on the street.

3) Cycle to a docking station in a tourist area in the morning expecting a space to be available. There won’t be any! It might look like it will save time but trying to find another docking station with space can be frustrating.

4) Don’t conclude because you see a name that you recognise that you are cycling the right direction. Helen said something like “Look, that sign says St James, we must be almost there.” The fact was that we were cycling in the opposite direction.

5) Expect any street-map or sign to be helpful for finding a docking station. The only exception are the maps on the docking station. Catch 22, the problem is you are looking at the map because the docking station can’t be found (I never thought they could disappear Dr Who style).

One comment

  1. Vanessa Davidson on Facebook · July 15, 2011

    How funny – can just picture your face


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