Since 2010 Londoners and visitors to the capital have been given a new way to see the city.
Not as expansive as some of the other major city's programs (due simply to the size of London), there are a total of around 8,000 'Boris bikes' (named after the city's mayor who oversaw the implementation of the scheme) at 570 docking stations.
Users can take the bikes wherever they wish around London but must bear in mind that the bike docking stations are pretty much all within the equivalent of the Tube's zone 1: Chalk Farm to the north, Kennington to the south, Blackwall to the east and Shepherd's Bush to the east.
Based on Canada's Bixi scheme (yes, bikes and stations do exist on the side of the Atlantic), visitors can sign up for either 24 hours or a week (for £1 or £5) and only need a valid credit or debit card to hire a bike. After payment you'll receive a code to type in at your chosen docking station and you then have half an hour of free use. Thereafter a charge is applicable ranging from £1 for up to an hour to £50 for up to 24 hours. Since the inception of the scheme, 'superhighways' have been put in place along many of the capital's roads allowing cyclists to get about safely and quickly (although you'll have to provide your own lock and helmet). If you have a specific route in mind while visiting London, you can see how best to complete it on the Barclays Cycle Hire website. You can also order free copies 15 different cycling guides to UK addresses, so if you are visiting from abroad get them sent to your hotel in London. With a growing population and the transport system being ever more put to the test, cycling now the quickest and healthiest way to see the very best of the capital.Paris, Vélib'