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Our intrepid correspondent experiences Transport for London's new bike scheme. Will he survive the traffic and tourists?
Cycling groups say the scheme doesn’t cover enough of the city and there are warnings of logistical issues when riders can’t find free docking stations to return their machines. They also warn of the many dangers — from potholes to trucks — facing casual cyclists.
None of this is on my mind as I reach the distinctive dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. I’ve discovered the off-road capabilities of 100366’s fat tires, bouncing them playfully up the curb and — hoping that Transport for London will forgive me — down a small flight of stairs, which they handle with great aplomb.
Shortly after this enjoyable detour I have my pleasant encounter with the cycle courier. It’s enough to give me a final burst of energy to reach my final photo calls at Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.
Implausibly, my cellphone’s SatNav system tells me that, although I averaged 9 m.p.h. over the distance, my top speed was a lawbreaking 33 m.p.h. It doesn’t stop me from being more than 15 minutes late though. Tony Snow doesn’t mind, he’s just happy to get 100366 back — as unhappy as I am to part with it.