Cycle Show sees unveiling of London's Cycle Hire bikes

Visitors to the London show shown the new London Cycle Hire bike & docking station, and ride - virtually - on Cycle Superhighway
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Visitors to the London show shown the new London Cycle Hire bike & docking station, and ride - virtually - on Cycle Superhighway

Prototypes of the London Cycle Hire bikes were unveiled at the Cycle Show yesterday. It was the first public showing for the bike, of which 6,000 will be placed on the streets of the Capital next summer.

Four preview models were available for taking around an indoor test track at the Earls Court expo centre. The bikes were available alongside prototype electronic docking stations. The test track also featured signage to be used on the routes. Pix of the bikes, signage, test track and docking stations can be found here.

The bikes are fitted with Shimano Nexus hub gears.

The hire bikes and proposed Cycle Superhighway cycle routes are due to launch next summer with the aim of achieving a 400 per cent increase in the number of cycle journeys made in London by 2025.

Cycle journeys in London have more than doubled in the past decade, with a nine per cent increase in cycle journeys on the city's major roads in the past year alone.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "I am thrilled that Londoners can finally clap their eyes on these cracking machines.

"With its funky design and sturdy handling this is a bike that will encourage thousands more Londoners to use two wheels to get from A to B." Pix here.

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's transport adviser (shown on this BBC video): "The Mayor and TfL want to make cycling a safer and more attractive option for everyone in London.

"The 6,000 bikes in our hire scheme will make cycling more accessible and the Cycle Superhighways will provide cyclists with the reassurance of cycling in numbers.

"TfL is working hard to deliver the Mayor's cycling revolution, which will help make the Capital one of the world's great cycling cities.'

Cycle Superhighways will be a set of highly visible radial routes that will provide a safe, fast and efficient way into central London from the outer boroughs. Here's a new video of the Cycle Superhighways - featuring Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

By summer 2010, the first two pilot routes, Merton to the City (A24 and A3) and Barking to Tower Gateway (A13) will be completed.

David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: "The London Cycle Hire scheme will effectively be a brand new, 24-hour public transport system for central London."

The £140m Bike Hire scheme is to be operated by Serco, which also runs the capital's Docklands Light Railway and Woolwich Ferry. Other share bike schemes around the world are operated by bus shelter advertising companies; the London one will be funded by TfL which will rely on the hire fees and sponsorship.

No hire fees have yet been announced: the signage unveiled at the Cycle Show merely said £x.

The London Cycle Hire scheme is part of a wider, Smarter Travel initiative from TfL, including Cycle Superhighways.

The two pilot Cycle Superhighways - which currently have 5,000 cycle journeys a day - are expected to deliver 27,000 cycle journeys a day within three years of their launch.

Safety issues on the Cycle Superhighway routes will be addressed through specific measures, such as the provision of advance stop boxes and providing continuous lanes through junctions as appropriate. In addition, obstructions will be minimized and improvements made to road surfaces to ensure a smoother ride.

The simulations at the Cycle Show show the Cycle Superhighways to be blue strips, about 1.5 metres wide, with no raised edging or kerbs to prevent ingress of motorists.

A statement from TfL said:

"Cycle Superhighways will have a clear and unique identity. Blue surfaces will increase driver awareness. The Cycle Superhighways will be at least 1.5m wide and provide continuous cycle lanes at junctions; advanced stop boxes; and signals to help keep [cyclists] safe.

"We're building the Superhighways to improve cycling conditions for people who already commute by bike and to encourage those who [have yet to] take to pedal power. This will help cut congestion, relieve overcrowding on public transport and reduce emissions.

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