A little while ago we talked about an advert that appeared on Sell2Wales suggesting that a bike hire scheme may be on the way.
The city wants to see 500 bikes stationed around the city as it tries to boost public transport
It seems as though there may have been something to this, with WalesOnline reporting that the council does indeed have plans in place to re-introduce a bike hire scheme, but on a far greater scale than the ill-fated Oybike scheme.
At the time we’d have said its introduction may have been premature and that investment in infrastructure should probably come first.
However, if the Tokyo video we posted earlier this week has demonstrated anything it’s that availability of infrastructure is not necessarily connected to a thriving cycling culture. It’s also worth pointing out that Stevenage, for example, has extensive segregated cycle infrastructure but relatively few cyclists. A cycling culture can be grown in the absence of infrastructure.
…but can it work?
A network of hire points located around train stations and important landmarks will remove the risk involved in parking your own bike up at these locations all day. It may also act as a gateway to people who wouldn’t normally cycle, but then find that it’s not all that scary after all and carry on with their own bike.
Of course, there is always the risk that it could all fail miserably, but things have moved on since the Oybike days. There’s a few more of us now; car parking has become more expensive and more scarce and more of us are aware of the perils of inactivity.
As long as the scheme is well priced; easy to use; the bikes are well maintained and the launch coincides with a good summer, it has every chance of being a success. In the meantime, if you want to hire a bike, you can get one from Pedal Power or from Cardiff Cycle Tours, which can include a guided tour if that is something that interests you.