My eldest daughter, Becky, has just started at Exeter University. Naturally she wants to have a bike there to make the most of free, easy transport. Just as well really, what with the state of student finances these days; she’s already bracing herself for 3 or 4 years of poverty.
Admittedly I’ve only been there once and that was to drop her off in her Hall of Residence and we were surprised at the lack of bicycles there.
We did have a quick stroll around the area and checking out where the railways station is. This involves the aptly named Cardiac Hill, which although steep, wasn’t as bad as it had sounded from the descriptions I’d heard. Neither was it that long either. Perhaps it was the handrails which have spooked folk?
Apparently there are 23 bikes being made available in the first phase, complete with their docking stations and charging points. The blurb says they are good for 40-60 miles. I imagine that’s 40-60 miles where occasional battery assistance is provided? I doubt if they’d get far up Cardiac Hill, or many of the other nearby steep roads if depending on the battery power. Looking at the photo of the bikes, the side panels almost look like they are wings, folded neatly in. Perhaps this is some kind of secret weapon?
One can’t help thinking what kind of crazy pranks students could get up to with these bikes! What kind of wacky, inappropriate ways could they be used? What could the strangest place you could take one to in Exeter? I better not say too much in case I get the blame for some haired-brained prank!
Joking aside, these build on the Boris Bike phenomenon in London and other major cities around the World. They may not be the snazziest design, or the fastest but I think they definitely have a part to play for the occasional ad-hoc use for local folk or for the convenience of tourists and visitors. Could be fun to try one when I visit soon….