A recent visit to London gave the opportunity to view on the Barclays hire-a-bike scheme. There are political and safety arguments for and against this system, but it was the technical design of the bikes that we were particularly interested in.
The bikes, made by DeVinci Cycles, have some well thought out features which make them suitable for a tough city life and the estimated 40,000 mile lifetime usage.
The frames are all of a step through design and feature chain, mud and skirt guards to enable them to be ridded in office apparel .The front of the bike is equip with a carrying rack and securing strap and all cables are concealed within the frame of the bike or under covers.
To provide safe riding in all conditions the bikes have an ‘always on’ light system powered from a front hub dynamo. The lights use LED technology and remain on for two minutes after stopping. Drum brakes are fitted both front and rear for secure stopping even in the wet and the rear hub features a 3 speed box. The overall gear ratio has been lowered to help cope with the heavy nature of the bike’s construction. Ratios are 32 gear inches in 1st gear, 44 in 2nd gear, and 60 in 3rd. This is about 20% lower than a normal bike of this type, but fine for an easy cycle about the city.
Puncture proof tyres with anti-tamper valves and a handy kick stand complete the picture.
Best of all it was nice to see lots of the bikes being used by everyday folk, exploring the parks and sights of London. Go on………..Give it a go.