Belatedly writing this, as usual, but “recently” I finally had an excuse to give these a whirl.
I got sent on an errand to the other side of town and in an effort to take as little time as possible (just quite how much “Can you just…” interferes with my supposed workday can be a topic for another post elsewhere) I hired a bike to do it.
They are a doddle to hire. Find one in the nearest parking zone (can check in the app before hand), scan the QR code in the app, the bike is unlocked and off you go - a little too quickly, the electric assistance kicked in sooner than I thought and nearly sent me straight into a post.
Despite not having been on a bike for a few years riding a bike is like riding a bike.
I did a ten minute journey to a parking zone near my destination and ended the ride there. Ending the ride can be a bit fiddly, because you can have the bike parked in zone, but you also need to make sure you (your phone) are in zone as well when taking the photo to prove you’ve parked it up. I thought it’d make sense to do my errand as two separate journeys as I didn’t know how long I’d be, but if you know you are just nipping in somewhere it might be cheaper to leave the bike directly outside and pause it. This is because the fees are £1 every seven minutes, but if you hit eight minutes then that’s going to cost you £2. So for my errand I did ten minutes out and eight back, costing me £4, but £3 gets you twenty-one minutes so if I’d been quick in-between I could have just kept one hire and saved myself a whole £1.
On a related note it makes sense to semi-plan journeys to be efficient. It doesn’t always make sense to hire the nearest bike if road routes mean you’ll get stuck in multiple traffic lights. Sometimes it makes sense to walk a bit further so you get a more direct cycling route.
These bikes are pretty cool though. I hope they stay around. And I hope I have an excuse to use them again - they are fun!