Thursday, 5 September 2013


I have just spent the last 6 days in London with Mum visiting the siblings who now all work and live down there.
It was great to be in London for more than a weekend, but god did we cover some mileage!
We walked and tubed it from daybreak to nightfall x 6.

Except for 57 minutes when I took a whirl on a Boris bike.

We had just finished dinner in Shoreditch (Pizza East- v tasty), Mum was hipster spotting.
'Is that one' she'd ask, looking over the top of her glasses, discreetly darting her eyes in the direction of an 18 yr old.
'Yes Mum, that's one', and she'd nod knowingly.
The family decided they were going for a drink, I spotted the line of Boris bikes and said I'd meet them in an hour.

Me and C tried these bikes in San Sebastian a good few years ago.
I remember it was quite scary, but we didn't know the Spanish city roads, so I reckoned it was time to give the rental bikes another go, they've become so popular around Dublin for commuting - I wanted to get to make friends with them.

I swiped my credit card, got the password print out, yanked my bike from its block and cycled from Shoreditch up Kingsland Rd, past Dalston, Stoke Newington and went up as far as a big Jewish area in South Tottenham, then headed back.

I'll be honest, it wasn't much fun.
The road, a straight road the whole way should have been a joy, but there were so many, many potholes and lumps and bumps I was being jarred constantly, not even the tractor thick tyres of the London bike could provide any defence.
Plus there was no cycle lane at all, surprising given the popularity of cycling in the areas I was passing through.

The Borris bike's saddle/ handlbars couldnt be pushed forward/ back for comfort unless you had an Allen key handy.
Which I didn't.
I realise these bikes are for light use, but it was uncomfortable from the get go.
Slipping forward on the saddle all the time gave me pain in my shoulders from having to push myself back on the seat to cycle, potholes and no cycle lane did not a happy cyclist make.

Despite the state of the roads I'd still definitely cycle everywhere if I lived in London.
The tube was great - but stifling, pretty claustrophobic, time consuming and I imagine costs a fortune each month.
Good for every now and then, but I know I'd get depressed having to tube it everyday.
Plus, if I cycled, I'd get to call into the 'Look Mum, No Hands!' bike cafe - which could only be a good thing.

My London Boris Bike

look mum no hands! - 49 Old St, London (near Barbican)

The workshop/ Coffee shop of look mum no hands

Coffee shop - look mum no hands

Great idea - look mum no hands

Rapha Shop, Brewer St London (near Piccadilly)

Rapha shop - London

Rapha Coffee shop - London

Lots of fixies around Dalston/ Stoke Newington

Museum of London

Exhibition at Museum of London, Aug 2013