London's promised "revolution in cycling", based on the Paris velib bike-hire network, will begin on 30 July, Boris Johnson will announce today.
Londoners and visitors to the city will be able to pick up and drop off one of 6,000 hire-bicycles at 400 locations across the centre of the capital.
The scheme, originally proposed by Ken Livingstone, Mr Johnson's predecessor as London Mayor, hopes to avoid the problems that have plagued the popular Parisian velib network, where half the bikes have been lost or stolen.
Users will pay an initial membership fee of £1 for 24-hour access, £5 for seven-day access, or £45 a year. They can make unlimited journeys and the first half-an-hour will be free. On top of that, the London Cycle Hire charge for members will be £1 for a journey of between 30 minutes and one hour, £4 for up to 90 minutes, and £6 for up to two hours. Cyclists will use a new smart-card – similar to an Oyster card – to unlock the bikes.
Mr Johnson, said: "In just four months London will glitter with the twinkling dynamo lights of thousands of shiny hire bikes, zipping around the streets unfettered from timetables, queues and crowds."