26 July 2015

Santander Cycles put a spoke through Mr Mustard's wheel

£34 for <30 minutes - avoid this bike.
Mr Mustard decided as he was carrying a "few extra pounds" that it was high time he started to use "Boris Bikes" when in London rather than change tube line. This coincided with the move of PATAS from Angel to the Chancery Lane area (and a change of name to London Tribunals) and Mr Mustard now has a pleasant ride from Euston to Chancery Lane. The traffic isn't a problem as there are a number of quiet or pedestrianised roads and some cycle lanes to use.

The usual problem isn't the traffic but finding a bike to hire near Euston and then finding an empty space to use in Chancery Lane as commuters clearly have the same idea as Mr Mustard and beat him to the stock.

On Wednesday Mr Mustard came out of Euston at about 9.30 and decided to try Drummond St first (you can get good cheap vegetarian curries there in a number of Bhel Poori houses, if you didn't know e.g. £7.05 for a Thali) and needless to say the rack was empty. Mr Mustard started to walk towards Chancery Lane as his first Appeal hearing was at 10am and he likes to be timely. He passed another rack which was also devoid of bikes. He crossed the Euston Rd and cut through into Endsleigh Gardens and there was a solitary bike in the rack. Mr Musatrd piled his paperwork into the luggage holder and the bike moved. Mr Mustard moved the bike gently, it slip easily backwards out of the rack. Oh dear, thought Mr Mustard, the previous hirer is going to get a charge for an unterminated journey at £4 per hour. Mr Mustard docked the bike, it went in and stayed in (this was a mistake of sorts as Mr Mustard could have ridden the bike for free, but would not that). Mr Mustard then inserted his key and removed the bike and cycled happily down to Chancery Lane where the rack he was going to dock it had been taken out of service. Mr Mustard cycled aimlessly in circles until he found a single space just off Lincoln's Inn Fields. Mr Mustard shoved the bike in, one must do this fairly firmly, the bike locked in but there was no green docking light. Mr Mustard then, being a careful man and distrustful of authority, took the following photograph of the bike, duly docked.

Mr Mustard got to London Tribunals just in time at 10am to find that the computer had decided to crash and no hearings could take place. The adjudicator came out to chat to him, and several others also exchanged a few words as Mr Mustard is a well known representative, and after sitting around for a while it was agreed that Mr Mustard would go off to the Supreme Court to listen to the Barry Beavis & the other case on penalties being heard at the same time, and return at 4pm unless the tribunal rang him at 3.30 to say otherwise. (London Tribunals are always administratively helpful). Mr Mustard decided to pedal down to Parliament Square. His key was rejected in a number of bikes so at 11:23 he rang the number on the key. Mr Mustard was told he had failed to return his other bike. No I haven't said Mr Mustard and in fact it is only 5 minutes away so can prove if it is still docked.

Mr Mustard took this photograph of the still docked bike at 11:35

TfL were also sending a street based employee to check where the bike was. Mr Mustard hung around for a while but they didn't show.
Mr Mustard then took the tube from Temple to Parliament Square, watched the proceedings until lunch at 13:00 (he will be on cctv inside the Supreme Court), walked up to John Lewis in Oxford St, and back, to buy a clean shirt (at 13:43) as it was a hot day, and then returned to Chancery Lane via Temple tube.

Mr Mustard doesn't do plain
Mr Mustard then argued his 4 Appeals and won 3 of them. He is slipping!

Here is even more proof that Mr Mustard was elsewhere during the day.

Mr Mustard is always a busy boy.
This does show you that Boris Bikes at £2 for the day and then free (except in this case) for up to 30 minutes are better value than the tube in central London as 2 stops are £2.30

Mr Mustard put a claim in for the refund of the £34 charged to his account and is awaiting the outcome.

The phone app shows that the journey finished at 18:21 How did the person who obtained the cycle where Mr Mustard had docked it, just off Lincoln's Inn Fields, not cause the previous journey to be terminated at that point? Perhaps the bike had worked itself loose again? It truly is the Harry Houdini of Boris Bikes and evidently faulty. Also at 18:21 Mr Mustard was clearly on the Central Line. Did he recklessly leave an unlocked Boris Bike lounging about all day? No.

Mr Mustard will let you know if and when he gets his £34 back.

If you have any doubt about docking your bike, and the docking or faulty bike button does not work phone up the number on your key at that very moment so that the fact of the equipment failure, which is not your fault, is recorded in real time.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update Sunday 2 August

TFL/Santander have emailed to say that £34 is being returned to Mr Mustard's account. He continues to photograph his cycle every single time that he returns it.


  1. I have a similar problem now with Santander Cycles saying the bike I used was not docked and has been missing for 12 days now. Anyone out there spot bike number 21213, please report its location.

  2. I would make a freedom of information request for that cycle number asking for all docking/undocking information from the month before you undocked it up until today so that you can see if the cycle has a fault.

    1. Thank you. I requested the information. Bike is still missing and they still say I didn't dock the bike properly. I was advised to get a print out from the docking station at the end of every journey to prevent this from happening again.


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