A Bike Share Bicycle Built for Two

As you may have heard, there was a pretty big wedding in London, UK on Friday, April 29th, 2011.

While everyone was buzzing about a dress that looked like some other dress, a carriage that is over 100 years old (OLD!) and a convertible… there was one item that received very little attention and has pretty fantastic Canadian roots.

A specially commissioned tandem “Boris Bike” was gifted to the Royal couple by London’s mayor, Boris Johnson.

Via Bike Hub:

The bike was paid for by Serco, operator of the London Bike Hire scheme, and made by the Public Bike System Company, the same Canandian company that makes the standard Boris Bikes.

The bikes used in London were first used by PBSC in Montreal, Canada and is known as the BIXI. The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles DeVinci.

The tandem has an oversized downtube, seven speed gears, an adapted braking system, a greater wheelbase (1800 mm vs 1111 mm) and two bells.

Roger Plamondon, chairman of the Public Bike System Company said:

“We are very proud of the work we have accomplished to make this special gift a reality and are delighted to find our BIXI at the heart of the royal festivities.”

But why just a one off? With Toronto’s Bixi launching on May 3rd let’s get a couple of these on the streets for real!

Image via Mayor Boris Johnson’s Twitpic
Story via Bike Hugger

The Red Bull Mini Drome

Ok, Red Bull… let’s get this mini drome over to Toronto!

How London, UK is Promoting Cycling

Transport for London has produced a series of short, stylish videos to help promote cycling in London. Each video introduces a new person and we get to hear how taking a cycling course, using the bike hire system, planning your route and traveling along the “superhighway” adds to their enjoyment of cycling.

This is a great series, each is embedded below:

Bike Sharing: “A project that trusts people before it distrusts them”

Screen shot 2010-07-30 at 8.32.45 AM

A look at London’s Barclays Cycle Hire:

Via The Guardian

London Launches Bicycle Sharing Program with Bicycles Built in Canada

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Via The Guardian, “In Montreal’s Tracks”:

“Bixi bikes are for short hops, not days out.” This was the advice I was given about Montreal‘s hugely popular bike share scheme on my first day in the city. It came from André Giroux, who was clearly keen to make the distinction between this new scheme and his own 16-year-old cycle hire shop, Ça Roule. “Tourists get confused,” he sighed. “They try to take the Bixis on the out-of-town routes for hours on end, then wonder why they get hit by a huge bill.”

Today, those same Montreal-designed public bikes are rolling around London and with them come the same misunderstandings. Some of the UK press is up in arms about £50 charges for 24 hours’ use, but, as Montrealers know, no one is supposed to hang on to one bike for this long. The key to affordable usage is to dock the bike for five minutes between each “free” 30-minute session and – bingo – no extra charges. The daily charge in Montreal is $78 (Canadian dollars), about £50.

With their heavy frames and three-gear system, the bikes should have “short hop” written all over them. Are Londoners already struggling to see beyond the heavy-handed Barclays branding?

Read the full article here.

Toronto’s bike share program, also using Canadian-built Bixi bikes, needs your support now. Subscribe early and help bring more bikes to Toronto’s streets. Subscribe here: Bixi Toronto

Photo via The Guardian

London Invests £111 Million in Cycling Infrastructure

Barclays Cycle Superhighway

At the current exchange rate, that’s $175 million CDN spent on cycling infrastructure in one year. Improving road conditions, creating a bicycle sharing program, increasing bicycle parking facilities and building “Barclays Cycle Superhighways” represent how you implement cycling infrastructure by tackling all aspects at once.

This video explains it all:

Now, you may be thinking, “But everything in England is on a much smaller scale, this could never work over the greater distances in Toronto.” And if you are thinking this, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

Consider the first route mentioned, running from outer London to inner London, 8.5 miles or just shy of 14 kms. In Toronto, you could start at Union Station and reach Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough by traveling just one more kilometre. Head in the opposite direction and 14 kms takes you to the 427.

While the current rail corridor development in Toronto is a step in the right direction, these cycling routes fall quite short of actually delivering cyclists into the areas of the city with the highest concentration of employment.

Video via EcoVelo