The Boris Bike scheme is all well and good, but, as anyone who's ever had the pleasure of using one will know, they're not exactly the fastest machines in the world. That may be about to change, as starting next year, electrically-powered versions will be available to the more sedentary among us.
Electric bikes, to be clear, aren't quite like little scooters -- they generally augment the power from pedalling, rather than delivering all the acceleration from a motor. As such, you don't need insurance or training, or legally even a helmet. It's just like riding a bike. (Terrible pun fully intended.)
The bikes will first be coming to the hillier parts of London, starting with a base station at Finsbury Park Tube and with corridors running through Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace. Although the system sadly won't be cross-compatible with the regular bike-hire scheme, it's an interesting attempt to try and get more people cycling. From our experience with e-bikes, they're neat bits of kit, and the main drawbacks -- remembering to charge, and the lemon-suckingly expensive price -- would be handily footed by Boris in this scheme. [Evening Standard]
Image credit: morebyless, Flickr.com