09 May 2009
City Hall: Just what the Bike Doctor ordered
We dropped in to City Hall yesterday morning to see a photo exhibition. The famous egg-shaped building is semi-open to the public: you have to go through an airport-style security check though. Anything you might use as a weapon to hi-jack City Hall and fly it into the side of an aircraft, such as a set of allen keys, are temporarily confiscated.
As was my Swiss Army knife. It has 24 tools on it, including devices to strip wire, scale fish and threaten bank tellers, but the only ones I ever use are the scissors and the corkscrew.
Anyway, while we there, the Bike Doctor arrived (right). This is an excellent scheme that helps encourage employees to cycle to work. The BD visits on regular days and employees can book in their bike for free repairs, servicing and maintenance. All they pay for is the parts. The employer, in this case City Hall, pays for the BD's time. Bikes are dropped off in the morning and all ready to collect at the end of the day for the cycle home. And of course the BD arrives by bike, a big sturdy cargo job full of parts and tools.
The sessions are in the basement (right, where there's that huge aerial map of London that seemed so cool to find your house on before Google Earth arrived). It was this very spiral corridor (the 'Lower Ramp') that the mayor, Boris Johnson, was famously reprimanded for cycling down in February this year.
The cycling City Hall employees waiting for their BD sessions told us with a smile that everybody does it - once. "You just can't resist it", one said. "But security catch you and give you a good telling off. You don't do it again!"