Author Topic: How to navigate round London on a boris bike  (Read 2319 times)

How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« on: September 09, 2016, 09:38:51 am »
How are non-londoners supposed to know the way?

I do strongly feel that boris bikes would be a lot more popular with tourists if they had sat navs.

I thought phone in pocket on google maps with headphones and just listen to the voice prompts might work.
How do other folks do it -
Only use one when it doesn't matter if you get lost 'cos that's half the fun?
Reusable cable ties + your own garmin? (anyone confirm if this does or does not work? they look to have fairly fat handlebars)
Commit it to memory before you set off / guess?
Other?

It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Pingu

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2016, 09:53:06 am »
Err... map?

frankly frankie

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2016, 10:03:46 am »
There are a lot of very tall landmarks in London which help you stay oriented (that is if you have that sort of brain, and not the sort that just wibbles in any large town).
However I personally (as a mere provincial) would be completely baffled by the procedure for releasing a Boris bike from its stand in the first place.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

red marley

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 10:09:25 am »
One of the great features of these bikes is that docking stations are normally no further apart from each other than 300m so it opens up the possibility of just riding semi-randomly to explore the city. You will eventually come across one of the docking stations, which unlike say the Paris scheme, are reasonably prominent. Despite being a London resident for 17 years, I still explore the city in this way often discovering new and interesting bits.

If you need to get to a particular destination there are local maps at each docking station. (cross post with FF) It is also useful to familiarise yourself with easily recognisable landmarks and their location such as the Shard, Barbican towers, Strata building etc. to give you a NSEW orientation. And of course the new signed and segregated superhighways help with navigation along certain routes.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2016, 10:19:46 am »
Err... map?

OK. a) where do I put said map without (a) it blowing away or (b) people beeping when the getting-map-out-of-pocket procedure takes longer than the default time period of 0.8 seconds? This is  london remember not scotland, there's  traffic lights every 8 yards. ;)

There are a lot of very tall landmarks in London which help you stay oriented (that is if you have that sort of brain, and not the sort that just wibbles in any large town).
However I personally (as a mere provincial) would be completely baffled by the procedure for releasing a Boris bike from its stand in the first place.


I was similarly baffled the first time I tried, I assumed you could use an oyster card, but it turns out  you have to use a credit card.

Landmarks is fine if I'm cycling towards the centre of london from the outskirts as I just go towards the tall buildings. My knowledge of the landmarks doesn't extend much more than "tall buildings = the centre".
I've usually got a good sense of which way is west, east, north or south, but less so of the best way of getting there without going down a road that doubles back, possibly due to a bend in the river, and knowing which point to cross the river.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2016, 11:07:45 am »
Map before you start. Proceed towards something or in a direction that you recognise, until you no longer recognise it. Add zen. Repeat until arrival.

(How do you navigate while walking round a city you don't know? I'd probably use a similar technique, while recognising that I might need to swap 'stopping at the building side of the pavement to check the map' for 'pulling over to the kerb to check the map.')

Kim

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2016, 11:27:43 am »
Tube map :)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

pdm

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2016, 05:13:07 pm »
Citymapper App. - even has all the Boris bike stations on it...

Biggsy

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 07:24:26 pm »
How are non-londoners supposed to know the way?

Random bimbling with occasional help and hindrance from road signs.  Even some of us Londoners are rubbish at finding addresses here.  This reminds me of when I was London's worst cycle courier, spending more time looking at the map than riding.

Nowadays I can get satnav directions on my watch, being the slightly embarrassed owner of a Sony Smartwatch 3 - which is actually turning out to be really useful rather than the silly toy I was expecting for a bit of retail therapy.  (I got fed up of waiting for the SW4).
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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 12:13:30 pm »
I rode through London in 1989. Never again.

Samuel D

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 12:28:17 pm »
In Paris, people navigate on a Vélib’ by riding with one hand and holding their phone in the other.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 12:38:50 pm »
In Birmingham, people navigate on a Brompton Dock by shouting their destination. E.g.  “Where’s Aston University?” every few dozen yards.

The pedestrians point the way.

Pingu

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 01:24:04 pm »
Err... map?

OK. a) where do I put said map without (a) it blowing away or (b) people beeping when the getting-map-out-of-pocket procedure takes longer than the default time period of 0.8 seconds? This is  london remember not scotland, there's  traffic lights every 8 yards. ;)


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=map+case  :P


Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 02:04:32 pm »
I used the Google maps and headphones thing last time I was there, was fine except it kept interrupting my banging tunes.

Other times, I've just had a general idea of the way I'm heading and then figure it out once I'm close. Bikes with sat nav would lead to carnage IMO.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2016, 02:30:52 pm »
Worse than that - bikenage.

Direction signage in London is pretty good on the main roads, even better on the CS. All you need is the area you need to get through/to and some means of finding your ultimate destination.  GPS can be erratic in city streets, anyhow.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2016, 12:14:35 am »
Have general idea of direction, then use the maps at bus stops or Bank Bike stations for the last bit.

If I do plan in advance I usually write myself an Audax type routesheet. If it's 10 instructions or fewer then I can generally memorise it.

Phone is a useful backup too.

I've lived in London for nearly 20 years and close to nothing about it apart for the two or three routes I use frequently.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2016, 09:44:21 am »
The phone in pocket connected to bluetooth headphones actually worked really well. The only time it 'failed' (apart from due to road closures) was when it  said "take roundabout to 2nd exit" and it meant 2nd actual exit i.e. that's not a private road/quayside type affair.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

ElyDave

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2016, 01:51:55 pm »
I intend to ask my colleague who lives in London which is the best route from Kings cross to the office.  Why do all the hard work myself?
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Wowbagger

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2016, 06:07:40 pm »
I was very pleased with my navigation from Marylebone to Lpoo St on Sunday. OK, although not a resident, my knowledge of London's geography. north of the river at least, is reasonable. I can get between Lpoo St and all the other major railway stations without a map now, just by knowing the general direction in which to go. There is a certain amount of helpful bike signage, but you pretty much have to be on the "approved" route in order to come across this.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Phil W

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2016, 07:25:10 pm »
Kings Cross. Head east to Angel. Third exit at Angel will get you down St Paul's. Straight on to Old Street, third exit of roundabout south to Moorgate. At Moorgate turn left for Liverpool Street. South from Liverppol street gets you to Monumrnt and London Bridge.

West to Euston. British library between Kings Cross and Euston. South at Euston to Russel Square turn West for Birish Museum. South from British Museum is Oxford Street continue south west to Leicester Square, continue SW to Charing Cross, either west down mall to Buckingham Palace, or continue to House of Parliament or horse guards parade. Head west from Leicester Square for Piccadilly Circus

Cross over river from Houses of Parkiment and turn east for millennium wheel, Shard, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast etc. on to Millenium Dome and Greenwich park etc.

Just look at a map beforehand, print it out and use highlighter pen for main landmarks you want to see. TFL also publish free cycle maps you can order in advance I have a few of those maps from my early ventures.

I generally carry a silva type compass and box my route by the main artery roads even a large scale map will show.

frankly frankie

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Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2016, 09:25:14 am »
But in holiday periods the south bank down-river of Westminster Bridge is impossibly crowded, so if you actually want to get somewhere it's best to stay on the north bank of the river, and cross using the bridge nearest your objective.  Last time I walked along the south bank I was ready to kill after about 100 yards.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2016, 09:53:21 am »
But in holiday periods the south bank down-river of Westminster Bridge is impossibly crowded, so if you actually want to get somewhere it's best to stay on the north bank of the river, and cross using the bridge nearest your objective.  Last time I walked along the south bank I was ready to kill after about 100 yards.

Sartre would be proud.

Upper Ground isn't too bad as a cycle route, can't remember if it's still kind of blocked off at the Eastern end.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2016, 09:55:59 am »
All open but quite confusing as to how to join the cycle traffic.

Re: How to navigate round London on a boris bike
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2016, 11:50:20 am »
All open but quite confusing as to how to join the cycle traffic.
True. Turning right off victoria embankment onto here: https://goo.gl/maps/Dp6sDnSxWn62 I just went onto the road by default as if you look the other way there isn't a dip and it isn't obvious from the junction that the cycle path is there on the opposite side of the road. Should be more obvious where a cycle path starts from where there wasn't one previously although that's a double edged sword as it suggests that cyclists are obliged to use it. I did get pipped but it seemed more a friendly 'hey you might want to use it cos it's actually quite good' type of pip rather than a long 'gerron-the-cyclepath-you-CAAHHHHNT!' blast.
There is a dip in the kerb to be able to retrospectively get on it but that's another manoevre you have to do, in which you have to check two lanes of cycle traffic, which wasn't busy so I did it.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.