John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Trick riders take a vertiginous journey high above the streets of London.
Ride on a bridge railing over a river, wheelie through an alley, jump over another cyclist, then hop across a line of roof pitfalls like a mad monkey – all in a day's work for the typical London cyclist, right?
It is for a group of trick riders who recently turned the British capital into their personal stunt track using, of all things, a clunky Boris bike. The cyclists and their parkour friends took a day's journey leaping and bouncing off various public spaces, winding up at one point on a magnificent and vertigo-triggering perch high above the streets. It's a nice tribute to a bike-sharing ride that, as one critic has said, makes "real cyclists... laugh at you."
The whole thing was a plug for FightMe, a service that involves challenging people in your social network to do dares. But more importantly, it's another item we can add to the list of Unlikely Boris-Bike News, which at last reckoning included:
• Taking the bike on an X-Games-inspired BMX tear through town despite the rider's contention it is "built like a tank";
• Pedaling one from London to the Tour de France's most challenging peak, and then returning it before the one-day rental expired;