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Barclays Cycle Hire free to all this weekend‏

Anyone will be able to saddle up on a cycle hire bike for a 24-hour period, and as long as the trips are kept under half an hour people can make as many rides as they wish, all for free. Barclays Cycle Hire was launched on 30 July 2010, since then over 32 million journeys have been made and the scheme has just celebrated its fourth successful year. July was a record breaking month with 1.18m hires, the busiest since people first started pedalling on the distinctive blue bikes. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "In my experience there is no greater way to enjoy London than on two wheels and this weekend we are offering everyone the chance to cycle around our beautiful city on cycle hire bikes for free. Whether you are an avid enthusiast or a cycling novice, you'll be able to hop on a bike and take in some of our capital's most iconic sights."

Barclays Cycle Hire has become an integral part of travelling around London and the number of users, both new and regular, continues to grow. Between January and July this year, there was a 20 per cent increase in the number of cycle hire trips compared to the same period last year. The scheme now covers over 100km² of London and more than 90 London Underground stations (including the entire Circle line) and a number of major rail stations such as Clapham Junction, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Putney are now all within a short walk of a docking station, enabling more people to make cycling part of their daily commute.

To encourage more people to take up cycling, and to help build confidence on two wheels, British Cycling and Transport for London (TfL) have teamed up to also offer free group rides this weekend. One ride will take place in Hyde Park on Saturday 16 August, and a women only bike ride to help encourage women to start cycling, will be held in Regent's Park on Sunday 17 August.

Nick Aldworth, General Manager for Barclays Cycle Hire at TfL, said: "We're holding a free weekend of cycling across central London on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 August to encourage new and regular riders to get out on a bike. "Our bikes are the perfect way to enjoy London and discover new parts of the capital, they are also a handy and fun way to visit friends or get to work.

"We've had a fantastic four years on Barclays Cycle Hire, with the blue bikes now firmly part of daily life in London. Come and celebrate this special anniversary with us, and get pedalling."

The cycle hire scheme has seen many exciting developments over the last four years, expanding to east London in 2012 and to south and west London last year.

To help Barclays Cycle Hire users discover London during the summer, TfL has created a number of self-guided leisure cycle routes, many of which are on quieter roads. Popular routes include London's Secret Gardens,

Barclays Cycle Hire is easy to use. Users can simply use a credit or debit card to hire a bike, with no need to book, and from as little as £2 for 24 hours can make an unlimited number of journeys under 30 minutes each time. Regular users can register for annual membership, which equates to 25p per day and get the same unlimited number of journeys under 30 minutes each without paying anything more. Alternatively, they can register as a Pay as You Pedal member, which provides users with a membership key for quick access to the bikes and a pay as you go facility.

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