Lonely Planet Writer

The mystery of the Boris Bike returned after going missing 18 months ago

A London hire bike has been returned after 18 months. The bicycle was hired at 1.12am on New Year’s Day 2015 and was docked again on 18 May this year, reports Road.CC. It was spotted in Broadway Market, East London, by a man who noticed the bike’s conspicuous livery – it was branded with former scheme sponsor Barclays logo rather than current sponsor Santander.

Boris Bikes in London.
Boris Bikes in London. Image by Ronnie McDonald / CC BY 2.0

Cyclist Bradley Tubb told the Evening Standard that the bike’s appearance reminded him of a US TV show. “I was heading up to Broadway Market from Old Street and decided to hop on a Sadiq Cycle since it had been raining and the buses were packed. I finished my journey on Ada Street – which usually has a long line of docked red bikes – and there was an old, blue, Boris Bike. I hadn’t seen one for a well over a year, so I have no idea where it came from – or what it had been doing in all that time.”

“It reminded me of a show called the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where the main character is held captive for 15 years without any contact with the world outside,” he continued. “One day she’s released back into the world and has to adjust to modern life. I’d just finished my journey, but I’d have absolutely taken it otherwise.”

The bikes have been informally dubbed Boris Bikes, after outgoing London Mayor Boris Johnson. Some have suggested they now be called Sadiq Cycles, after new mayor Sadiq Khan.

The bike, number 12626, would have cost the hirer £300 – the figure the fines are capped at after 24 hours. This is the longest a London hire bike has been kept out for. But it’s unlikely to have travelled as far as some of the cycles, which have been up France’s Mont Ventoux and out as far as the Gambia.