I’ve been watching the Barclay’s cycle hire stations around town very closely. I had a great time riding a bicycle and sightseeing around Paris last year. I was very excited to have a similar system in my own city and neighborhood. I ordered keys from the TFL website and after a few phone calls to try and get my keys activated, we were finally able to use them.
You aren’t required to order a key from TFL as long as you have a credit card with a chip in it, which American credit cards don’t seem to have. The key cost a one time fee of £3 and it makes the process quicker and easier to hire the bike. The hire cost is £1 for a day’s access. Any number of journeys under 30 minutes are included in that price. If you keep the bike for more than 30 minutes you are charged additional fees. So if you are coming up on 30 minutes, you simply locate a bike station, return your bike and check it back out again. It’s important to note that you do not have to return the bike to the exact location of rental. There are bike stations located all over central London and you may return the bike to any of these locations as long as there is an empty space on the bike stand. Make sure the area you are traveling to is within the zone before you set off. TFL is extending the bike hire area but right now there is not very good coverage south of the river, west of Chelsea or in areas north like Highbury.
We set off on our bikes towards Covent Garden. Unfortunately, we arrived just as the shops were closing. All in all that was OK as the purpose of the trip was to try out the bikes and get some exercise and buying a new pair of blue trousers was secondary.
We stopped in to have some frozen yogurt at Snog, a psychedelically designed shop that’s just a little bit too proud of it’s suggestive name. A small cup with 1 topping will run you about £3.50. You get to choose from three flavors: plain, green tea or chocolate and loads of different toppings. We went with granola on green tea. The frozen yogurt was nice, but after a while the loud music and colors really got to us. Heading back out to the street seemed very calm and relaxing in comparison. I did like the lighting concept at Snog, however, if I were the interior designer I would have gone a little easy with the bright pink wall. There is such a thing as too much.
Barclay’s Cycle Hire – Best way to get around London when the weather is nice.
Snog Frozen Yogurt – Decent FroYo in an overstimulating atmosphere.