London’s bike hire scheme is marking its fourth anniversary with a weekend of free rides plus group events in Hyde Park and Regent’s Park.
On the weekend of Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th August non-members will be able to borrow a bike for free as many times as they like without having to pay the normal £2 daily access fee.
To take part in the free weekend riders will need to enter their credit or debit card at their chosen docking station but won’t be charged an access fee and all rides will be free provided they’re under 30 minutes.
Transport for London is also marking the anniversary with a free group ride in Hyde Park on August 16th and a women only ride in Regent’s Park on August 17th which it hopes will encourage more women to take up cycling.
The rides are being run in partnership with British Cycling and will cover four and a half miles along scenic, planned routes.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “In my experience there is no greater way to enjoy London than on two-wheels and to celebrate our fantastic cycle hire scheme’s fourth birthday, we are offering everyone the chance to cycle around our beautiful city for free.
“Whether you are an avid enthusiast or a cycling novice, you’ll be able to hop on a bike and take in some of our capital’s most iconic sights.”
Since the hire scheme went live in July 2010 it’s been used for more than 32 million journeys and has expended into East and South West London and TfL predict this month will see more hires than August 2012, the busiest month since the scheme launched.
However recent analysis carried out by Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly suggests that the number of hires for each individual bike has declined.
Transport spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon said: “The two expansions of the cycle hire scheme over the last four years actually mask the fact that there has been a decline in the average use of each bike. Even in June each bike was only used between 3 or 4 times a day.”
Ms Pidgeon wants TfL to bring forward plans to extend Oyster to the scheme, a move which the Mayor’s transport deputy recently said would boost ridership by at least 25%.