A different kind of public transport

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Nick Hogg
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

Like Paris, London has a bicycle hire scheme and now that winter’s well and truly gone it’s time to start making the most of being outside. With this in mind I thought I’d try one of the bikes to get to a meeting. The prospect of travel on London’s public transport (especially during summer) is enough to make me want to go by bike more often; I got to my destination feeling refreshed and alert.

The bikes are very comfortable to ride in regular work attire and the experience gave me a new perspective of getting around; they encourage you to enjoy the journey. At the same time, as you pass the same taxi stuck in a queue for the third time, you are aware that you’re constantly making progress taking advantage of cycle lanes that largely remain traffic-free.

The best thing is that your actual journey time can be much more consistent, unlike the tube or bus where you might have to budget time for possible delays. You need to be able to find an available space to drop the bike off, but more docking stations are being put in (you’re never more than 300m or so from one) and each station signposts others nearby. Plus there are great smartphone apps available that pinpoint their locations.

I could go on about the practical reasons to ride a hire bike instead of taking the tube but the first thing is that comes to mind is that it’s fun. That it is economical (up to 30mins usage is free!), healthy, environmentally-friendly etc are all just (big) bonuses. So next time you’re off to a meeting and reach for the travel card, save yourself the trouble of claiming expenses, why not give one of those bicycles a go instead. It’s great that my department in Jones Lang LaSalle has paid the annual access fee for two bikes and I think others should consider doing the same.

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