Everyday life

London on ‘Boris’ bikes

I’ve used the Barclays bicycles once in a while, in my last academic year. Never long distances, usually just to Chinatown and back. I would always steer away from the main roads, even if it means wheeling the bike on pavements.

Not today. Today, 90% of the cycle trip was completed on the roads, or designated bicycle lanes.

1. Removing the bikes from the station.

I didn’t have trouble this time. I used to have trouble releasing the bikes, but today, the first bike came off easily with a hard yank. One trick with dealing with bikes that won’t be released (despite the green light), is to lift the back wheel off the ground and pull from there.

2. Cycling on the roads.

It is rather unnerving because there were at least 2 right turns that I had to do. Thankfully, there were not many cars when I was doing the right turns, hence I was able to cross the lane to the other side and do my turn without fearing that I would be knocked down by an approaching car. It was also rather scary because I wasn’t cycling alone, but with other people. Fortunately, the roads were mostly quiet, except when we crossed the main streets–Marylebone High Street and Gloucester Road.

There was one part of the road in Hyde Park that was rather difficult for a first-time cyclist. There were cars parked on the left side and the two-way, one-lane carriageway was quite narrow. Because of the traffic, cars lined up, stationary on the road. However, there was a gap between the parked vehicles and the stationary traffic. This gap was just sufficient for a cyclist to pass through, and because many cyclists do, motorists do give allowance. Well, some do. Others don’t really care, and it makes it hard to squeeze through the gap.

I would never have dared to do it on my first time on the bike. But seeing that I’ve cycled for quite a while (though still not much), I decided to just go ahead and squeeze through.

 

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