We saw our first one in the shadow of Brighton Pier.
And then we started to see them all over town… at the train station, next to the Pavilion, even outside the OXFAM shop. There’s even some in Hove, where the posh people live!
I refer, of course to Brighton’s latest contribution to keeping the nation fit, the Social Bike scheme. There’s racks and racks of them – everywhere.
It’s a great scheme. Once you’ve registered, you pay 3p per minute to use a bike, with a minimum charge of £1 and a maximum of £12.00 if you keep the bike all day.
Alternatively you can sign up for a year for £72.00, which gives you an hour’s free travel every day. If you go over your hour, the 3p a minute comes into play.
The whole thing is controlled from the little magic box on the back of the bike which tracks you on GPS and tells you what distance you’ve travelled, how long you have been out and how much it has cost you.
The only thing that the magic box doesn’t calculate is the cost of the mug of tea and the bacon sandwich that is usually part of an early morning ride along the undercliff path to Rottingdean. (Distance 8.4 miles there and back)
And the best part is that if anything goes wrong with the bike, you just lock it back into one of the stands and someone else comes along and fixes it.