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Thursday, 21 April 2011

The London 'Training'

Isn't funny how anything bike related seems to be training? My latest Chris Hoy/Marc Baumont calibre training event took place in the City of Serenity, the quiet streets of London Village. And the only stressful part was putting the bike back!

Being such a small place, I'm surprised London has a cycling culture at all. Nevertheless, this bike park seemed to justify it's fancy 'double-decker' status. It made me feel the longing for a bike. If only you could simply borrow a bike from Boris.
 2 minutes later I was borrowing a bike from Boris. My friend Claire, who was working with Boris' people in City Hall that day said she's give him a kiss on my behalf but for some reason he wasn't around. And here's me thinking that he was the ideas man, in everyday, making London happen! Only one criticism... could he make a larger front basket happen. It took me an embarressing period of time, having already paid for the hire of the bike, to fit my bag and jacket in. I could tell that some onlookers thought I wouldn't manage. I won!

If Boris wasn't around for me to sing the joys of helmetless cycling around the busiest city in the UK on a steel steed with an unhealthily laden and unbalanced nose, then I was going to the top. The Houses of Parliament. I thought maybe I'd find John Prescott in the bar. We could chat about the merits of travelling by bicycle. But I didn't.

So I continued on my travels, over Westminster Bridge, past the IMAX, waving at other TFL cyclists along the South Bank, over Blackfriers Bridge, waving at the angry buses frustrated by this buffoon on a bike, no helmet and over-enthusiastic hand signals just to show everyone he could ride one-handed on this pedal-powered tank.

With still half an hour to go there was only one thing for it...  back over Westminster Bridge, past the IMAX, along the South Bank to find an abundance of docking bays enticing me to push my new friend nervously into their jaws.

I say nervously because when I hired the bike, I was fortunate enough to speak to a human being who told me that as long as the little green light went off, I was safe from the £50 late fee or £300 lost bike charge. But hang on, there are three little lights. A red one, orange one and a green one. What if one of the others came on? What does it all mean?

I asked myself the same question later when I smuggly avoided the train delays at Waterloo by cycling towards Earls Court. I carefully docked the bike just off Warwick Road to the sound of a wrrrrrr, clunk and a red light... that eventually went off. The bike was docked and locked, I couldn't get it out again but yet, no green light!?

I've not had the £300 bill yet and the bike did register as being at that site when I checked on my Andoid bike hire app. Anyway, I'm sure Boris would understand. He's got loads of those bikes going around London anyway. Whats a wrrr, clunk, red light between friends?

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