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  1. #1
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    Trek 820, Cannondale F500 with Trekking bars and road tires, Bianchi Alfana, Panasonic PCI "Les Maillots", Cannondale M1000 Tandem, Schwinn Johnny, Trek Lime, 1964 Armstrong, 1962 Raleigh Gazelle, 1964 AMF Hercules, Brooklyn Cruiser Driggs
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    A couple of days layover in London Ė Planning to use Bike hire

    I have a work trip coming up in mid-September and havenít traveled to the UK before. I am adding on a long weekend and think using the Bike hire system would be the best way for me to see the city. I donít want to look at concrete walls inside the tube if I can avoid it. I live in the Wash DC area and have used the bike share system here which I think is similar with regard to fare structure. I wish I could get the access key for the Barclay system but it appears I will just have a bit slower checkout using a credit card.

    I see on line there are bike route maps available to UK residents. https://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/routes-and-maps
    Will these be available somewhere when I arrive? It appears they are supposed to be available at bicycle shops, but I expect they might be picked over. Is there a location that I can count on to find maps? I will be arriving back in London after a rail trip from north of the city. But I havenít planned it out well enough to know the details of the trip.

    Bikes are a big interest to me particularly old English 3 speeds. And a Brompton bike is in my future. I wish I had one now but thatís not in the cards for the moment. Iím hoping to visit the Brompton Junction store at the very least and perhaps a few bike shops. Are there any bike interest locations I could visit? Is there anything notable in Nottingham commemorating the Raleigh factory? Iíll be passing through and could adjust my schedule. Any other suggestions for areas accessible by slow pace bicycle? I expect to be staying in the West End area.

    I'm very excited to see your city.

  2. #2
    Member
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    Trek 820, Cannondale F500 with Trekking bars and road tires, Bianchi Alfana, Panasonic PCI "Les Maillots", Cannondale M1000 Tandem, Schwinn Johnny, Trek Lime, 1964 Armstrong, 1962 Raleigh Gazelle, 1964 AMF Hercules, Brooklyn Cruiser Driggs
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    I forgot to ask about bringing a helmet. Is there are requirement? I don't have an issue without one unless I will be forced into heavy traffic at times. I don't have a good feel regarding the routes available to cyclists.

  3. #3
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    I can answer a couple of those Q's for you.

    There is no legal requirement to wear a helmet in the UK so it is your preference.

    Most bike shops in central London will have the maps available for you to take away, they are a common feature here, also if you know where you are going to be staying then you could have them sent to your hotel and pick them up on your arrival, prob best to let reception know to expect mail for you. Just use the url you posted for routes and maps to get to the request page.

    A cycle through Hyde park is wonderful, there are pick up points at either end of the park and it will save you a good bit of time over walking around. The bike system is good for some of the longer journeys but with all of one way road systems around much of central London you will find that shorter journeys are quicker on foot, even over taking the tube. I use the bike scheme myself but will often walk as with our volume of traffic you do need to concentrate vs taking in for example the architecture.

    The Brompton Junction store in Covent Garden is smack bang in one of the key tourist areas so should be a breeze to fit in. Great little store as well, you will really enjoy it. https://bromptonjunction.com/store/london/

    Good luck, hope you have a terrrific trip.

  4. #4
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    I was in London for a week last year and used the boris bikes to get just about everywhere. No need for a helmet and a very good way to get around town. Traffic is heavy, but rarely moves faster than a bike. My formula for deciding to walk or bike was to look at the map and if there were one of fewer bike stations between me and my destination then I would walk, otherwise the bike was faster. My wife got the oyster card and used the tube. We often would leave the flat and meet up at an agreed spot. Depending on the trip, the tube could be quite a bit faster, but then I tend to explore a bit on every trip so probably didn't take the most direct route.

    As for maps, it is handy to have a small scale map of the city in your pocket so you can decide what general direction you need to head in - pick up one of the free tourist books at the airport or train station.
    All of the bike share stations have a map on a pillar showing the nearby streets - very convenient! I found that if I got lost, I just had to stop at the next bike share and get my bearings.

    The bike share specific maps are no better than the tourist maps except that they show the the locations of all the kiosks and the limits of the bike share area. Handy to have but not essential.

  5. #5
    Member
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    Great replies. Thanks everyone for your help. I'm getting more excited as my plans are firming up. Tacked on another day on the front end of the trip to have a more relaxed arrival (and get over jet lag). Tiwguf, thanks for the tips and recommendation to visit Brompton Junction. That is definitely on my list.


    Quote Originally Posted by mercator View Post
    I was in London for a week last year and used the boris bikes to get just about everywhere.
    Mercator, did you use a phone app to find stations or available bikes/slots. I've used a similar method locally and it's nice to know either bikes or empty slots are available before you get to your destination.

  6. #6
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurtp13 View Post

    Mercator, did you use a phone app to find stations or available bikes/slots. I've used a similar method locally and it's nice to know either bikes or empty slots are available before you get to your destination.
    Nope, although I'm sure something like that would be handy if you were on a schedule.
    There were a couple of times when there were no bikes available, particularly late at night, but then I just walked to the next station.

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