Renting a Bike in the UK - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 27th, 2008, 12:22 am Thread Starter
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Smile Renting a Bike in the UK

Hi,

I will be in London next month on business. I am thinking of extending my stay and renting a bike for a couple of days to tour. Has anybody done this? Any advice, suggestions or prior experience would be appreciated. If you have rented I would appreciate pointers to who you rented from.

Thanks,

Bob

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 27th, 2008, 8:17 am
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I was in London this summer. If you're not absolutely confident of riding in the left lane and 100% confident of your riding abilities, DO NOT ride in London.

The riders I saw are aggresive. The bikes I saw were dinged and scratched as they split lanes like madmen. They have to. The traffic is a nightmare. Even the smallest scooter was ridden with skill and aggression.

I would have done it in a second as it looked like a blast, but I'm not confident enough in my own intelligence to stay left.... especially when considering the roundy rounds.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 28th, 2008, 12:05 pm Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by grifscoots
I was in London this summer. If you're not absolutely confident of riding in the left lane and 100% confident of your riding abilities, DO NOT ride in London.

The riders I saw are aggresive. The bikes I saw were dinged and scratched as they split lanes like madmen. They have to. The traffic is a nightmare. Even the smallest scooter was ridden with skill and aggression.

I would have done it in a second as it looked like a blast, but I'm not confident enough in my own intelligence to stay left.... especially when considering the roundy rounds.

Grif,

Thanks for the comments........ I am trying to determine how hard it will be to keep to the left versus right. May look at getting out of the London area first and then getting a bike.

Bob

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 28th, 2008, 5:39 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT_M3_Bob
May look at getting out of the London area first and then getting a bike.
That makes much more sense, especially if you don't ride daily in heavy traffic like L.A., N.Y., Atlanta, etc.

And don't bother with the Motorways, but stick to A-roads (lotsa fast sweepers) and B-roads (tighter, more rural stuff).

And bring your full contingent of rain gear, trust me on that one . . .

Ken
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 28th, 2008, 6:29 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT_M3_Bob
Grif,

Thanks for the comments........ I am trying to determine how hard it will be to keep to the left versus right. May look at getting out of the London area first and then getting a bike.

Bob
I rented a bike in London a few years ago to go ride through the south of the country with a friend on a long weekend. I'll have to see if I can find the info on the place I rented from- although I wasn't too impressed. We rented two bikes - a Yamaha Fazer and a Triumph Bonneville.

I've ridden in the UK several times throughout the years and the left hand drive thing is can be an issue if you don't have any traffic around you to show you the way, otherwise it's no big deal - just requires a bit more concentration (and putting some sort of very visible marker on the bars, tank, dials, or somewhere - to remind you which side to be on is not a bad idea.

The toughest thing is entering round about - if there is no other vehicle in them it can be a little offputting at first.

I also agree with the suggestions of getting out of London - there's no point in visiting London on a motorcycle, walk if you want to see the city. It is an aggressive driving atmosphere - like most larger European cities, especially those in Latin Europe. Lane splitting or filtering is a survival tactic and no where in the US is that type of driving practiced - even in California. On the flip side, cars are much more aware of motorcycles in Europe and in many cases they will actually move out of the way for you so that you can more effectively lane split.

Unlike the States, people accept that motorcycles on the road are actually reducing traffic and rather than having the mentality of "hey bud, get back in line and wait like the rest of us" it's more of a "let them through - one less car to wait behind". Or if not that, then at least a "if I let him through he won't knock of my side-view mirror".
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 28th, 2008, 8:10 pm
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Watch out for the messenger carriers or dispatch riders. They are everywhere and ride like they are possessed. Get used to lane splitting because it is legal there and sometimes the only way to move in traffic jams.
I am also sure it will be very expensive to rent a bike over there. In fact everything in UK is expensive. They even charge for ketchup in Burger King!!, and forget about refills.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2008, 8:03 am
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Now add to all said above the rain,oily roads, cobblestone streets & City Zones for London - CZ- is a tax / toll to enter parts / zones of London. STAY out of the large cities. Unless you've driving in China,India. It is SOME site to see the traffic in London.
GO WEST. Amesbury,Bath,Stonehenge,Salisbury about 2 hr. out of London.
Your not in NC. any more, if ya ride in the Cities.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2008, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Cambridge K
It is SOME site to see the traffic in London.
Agreed. My wife would just close her eyes because as she put it: "I trust you, but I don't need to see it."

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles and counting...
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 60K miles miles and counting...
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#145, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032

All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .

Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2008, 4:01 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meese
Agreed. My wife would just close her eyes because as she put it: "I trust you, but I don't need to see it."
When riding with the cabbies I was usually saying, "I don't trust you, but I can't help but watching".
Actually, they drive like hell, but the skill level makes the average American seem drain bamaged.

-=grif=-
What was that middle thang?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2008, 9:42 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grifscoots
Actually, they drive like hell, but the skill level makes the average American seem drain bamaged.
Ain't that the truth.

The big push out here now is "handsfree Bluetooth" since it recently became law. But that almost gives folks "permission" to use their phones while driving. Unfortunately, most of them can't drive and breathe at the same time, let alone hold a conversation. Scary stuff indeed . . .

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles and counting...
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 60K miles miles and counting...
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#145, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032

All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .

Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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