Sunday, 22 August 2010

On Yer Bike

Now that the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has initiated a cycle sharing scheme with Barclays to pop around town on, I suppose it’s understandable that we are asked to pay twice plus to borrow a bike from them. After all, Bank charges are Bike charges are Bike charges are Bank charges.

So… How do you get yer not yer own bike? Well a key must firstly be obtained for a fee of £3. Then armed with your key, you can unlock a charge to access a non crossbar heavy bike with it.

But that is not as good as it gets, (for Boris at Barclays anyway). A second charge is levied on any usage over Thirty minutes. (A quid for thirty minutes and ten seconds).

For up to the first hour then, the charge is merely set at £1, (on top of your preliminary shell outs). However, for two weeks of solid hire it would be cheaper to buy your own bike with lots of gears and a lock and chain to keep it safe with. The later being a no go area for the London Cycling Scheme. No locks are provided by them and their gears are limited to three. (A push bike is a push bike).

However, you would also be allowed, by force if need be, to compensate up to £300 for any damages. Well they are built like army tanks with a front shopping basket and army tanks with front shopping baskets are expensive.

Yet can you imagine a London Taxi driver charging you for having his/her ignition keys ready to go, over and above the minimum fare to be paid at destination? Not a Mayor in London would be amused if the BUPA of the road tried that one on.

It would be the same then for the NHS travel of the road as well. (Busses),

“I know you’ve just successfully dabbed on your Oyster card Sir, but this bus is not moving until you pay the fee for holding your brolly up to me as I approached this request stop!”

But back to bikers united… what do they get for their UK Pounds? Well there’s all those cycle lanes nearly everywhere you go and not all of them have delivery drivers parked in them while they’re earning a crust or illegally parked cars. And the advice you’ll get from motorists if you complain about them making you wobble would be the most colourful you may have ever heard.

Third party insurance is included in your simple hire agreement I admit but it’s so simple that there’s not even a ‘No claims bonus’ to be had after years of patronage.

Now in my own opinion cyclists should be banned from all public roads because they are slow and dangerous without rear-view mirrors. The majority of them are colour blind at red traffic lights too. Maybe Alfred Lord Tennyson had a bike when he wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade? Or was he just whinging about his electric bill?

However, white van drivers to right of them, white van drivers to left of them, white van drivers in front of them maybe but who hasn’t cringed when a Mother on an old bike with a child in a seat behind her starts weaving in and out of their blind spots?

Yet can you imagine what would happen if the cycle was to be a 21st century invention? No government could allow the public to balance about on two wheels through congested traffic. They would be classified as weird skateboarders for the purpose of certifying.

Of course we all know that as well as birthdays and un-birthdays, Santa also brings Christmas presents to little boys and girls with a dubious claim of being good over the previous year. We also know as well that a bike is sometimes requested, nay, ordered, to go with the new laptop and the wii games list. Well why not, most credit cards will run to that. Who needs theatre tickets anyway?

A toy is a toy and children enjoy playing with toys. A trip along the pavement with stabiliser wheels intact has always been great fun. Startle a dear old lady for extra points.

“Look Mum, no hands.”


“Look Mum, no teeth.”

Once puberty kicks in though and Santa has refused your order for a sports car by telling you to get out of bed and get yourself a job to buy your own with, you shouldn’t feel the need anymore to take your toys out into the road. Surely?

We all know it’s unlawful to ride a bike after dark without lights, unlawful to ride on the footpath and unlawful to have a passenger on the cross bar but the average is three out of three on that score because Police are powerless against such behaviour. They don’t have bikes anymore!

I was walking along the sea front in Brighton recently. I was on the footpath and not in the road when an irate woman came up behind me on a bike ringing her little tinker bell thing at me.

“Get off the cycle track you moron,” she shouted above the gulls.

I’ve been called worse though, so nah nah ni nah nah to her! (See PS/.).

Apparently, although I was on a footpath, that particular footpath also contained a designated cycle lane in it’s contract despite National legislation to the contrary. A different slant on the Brighton lanes or what?

Here’s an idea… Make racing cars stay on race tracks and ban them from our public highways.

Oh sorry, we achieved that years ago. All right then, here’s another idea… Make cycles stay on cycle tracks and ban them from our public highways (and seaside pavements). Well that’s how I see things at least.

PS/.Yep. I’ve actually been called ‘A loud mouthed sex maniac’ before. It wasn’t true though. Of course I haven’t got a loud mouth!

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