The first of several dozen London Cycle Hire Scheme roadshows was in a hot and sunny London Fields on Saturday. The roadshows display a hire bike for you to sit on (though not actually ride around), information boards and videos, and examples of the street furniture and signage that will decorate the docking stations.
You can also pick up very handy free docking station maps, something that doesn't seem to have it to the TfL Hire Scheme web pages yet.
Forthcoming roadshows, from 19 June to the end of September, will visit many of the busiest parts of London (Leicester Square, Hyde Park etc) and some of the quietest (the Emirates Stadium, for instance).
The bikes are generously-saddled three-speed jobs with the manoeuvrability of a washing machine, but they seem sturdy and easy enough. The saddle range looks just about OK, roughly catering for anyone between five foot and about six-four; or in metric, 150-195cm; or in tourist, Japanese girl to Dutch bloke.
Some worry about the safety aspects, complaining about lack of helmets. But it's impractical to issue helmets to everyone at risk. How could you provide them for all those pedestrians anyway, in the path of an inattentive tourist riding a wheeled anvil?
If you live in Southwark or Lambeth and want to try out a hire bike before the scheme starts on 30 July, you can do so if you sign up for free or subsidised cycle training, reports the SE1 website. We're strongly in favour of the bike hire scheme and are very pleased with what we've seen so far. So I'll be right in the queue - anyway, I could do to work on my biceps.