The hire bikes are coming

DSCF1317 It's hard to miss the lickably-shiny new bicycle docking stations that have sprung up, in anticipation of the actual bikes, due on 30 July for the Transport for London, ahem, Barclays, cycle hire scheme. Or maybe it is hard to miss the docking stations around King's Cross, there doesn't seem to be many. The scheme, covering central London, aims to put 6,000 hire bikes on the road, free for the first half hour after paying a one day, one week or one year access fee. TfL haven't yet released a map of the docking stations, but thanks to lovely citizen bloggers/FoI junkies, here's a map. I've listed the stations for King's Cross (Have I missed any? And do these ones exist?):

  • St Chad's Street (Gray's Inn Road end), WC1
  • Calshot Street (Pentonville Road end), N1
  • Ampton Street (Gray's Inn Road end), WC1
  • King's Cross Road (near Great Percy Street), WC1
  • Belgrove Street (Euston Road end), WC1 (This looks like the closest one to King's Cross station)
  • Rodney Street (Pentonville Road end), N1

So, who is going to use these bikes the most — locals, commuters, tourists? Will it unleash several thousand inexperienced cyclists onto the streets of London, all maniacally trying to get somewhere in under thirty minutes? I've used the bikes' counterparts in Paris, so it'll be karma for me in the form of tourists wobbling on the opposite side of the road to which they're accustomed. One frustration in Paris was finding full docking stations when arriving at my destination (and then having to ride a couple of blocks away in search of a station to offload the bike). TfL may need to resort to using lorries to shuffle the bikes around, as has happened in France.

This undoubtedly pricey scheme carries a lot of risk and concern: vandalism, theft, safety (especially for novice cyclists), but the aim is a big noble one: converting a whole tranche of people to a cheap, sustainable, healthy and social form of transport. Maybe even coax a few people out of the tube. That in itself would be a good thing.

Clare Hill

About Clare Hill

Clare is a writer and editor who lived in King’s Cross for a decade. She is passionate about local history, transport and food. Contact Clare by commenting on her posts or go to
This entry was posted in Transport. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The hire bikes are coming

  1. Sophie Talbot says:

    After tenants having bikes nicked on a regular basis at Battlebridge Court before our Housing Association eventually gave in and put proper locks on our bike store means I can definately see me and my partner using the hire bikes. Bring it on!

  2. Tobias Newland says:

    Had a look at the St Chad’s Street station the other day. They really need to tie in the legible London maps with the hire charges. At the moment they have a circle around the ‘You are Here’ location showing how far you can cycle in five minutes or walk in fifteen.

    Surely it would be an excellent idea to show how far you can cycle in 30 minutes! I really want this scheme to work and I think one unintended positive spin-off is an increase in ‘the knowledge’ of how to navigate around London’s maze of streets. I wonder how much thought TfL has given to linking in the hire scheme with its Legible London scheme which was inspired by Islington’s navigational maps and is currently being piloted in Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, Oxford Street, the South Bank, Richmond and Twickenham.

  3. Laura Burrow says:

    Whenever we visit our friends in Paris we always use the hire bikes, they’re brilliant, convenient and fun! It will be really handy to have these bikes when our friends visit us!

  4. Clare says:

    Good points Toby. I have noticed a lot of people really studying the maps at the currently bikeless stations. At least visually or branding-wise the maps seem to tie in with the Legible London scheme. Also I checked my nearest station map and the radius it showed for a 5 minute bike ride should really be a 10 minute bike ride.

  5. Nathan says:

    Are we still getting one on Gt Percy Street? I’m sure I saw one there a couple of weeks ago but just saw tonight that it has gone and all the holes have been sealed over… am I being thick or has it been taken away?

  6. Clare says:

    Also technically in King’s Cross, which I left out, I can confirm there’s a docking station on Pancras Way, just before Old St Pancras Churchyard, and on the same side as the churchyard.

    Here’s a Google Streetview reference point:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s