Jessica Ennis-Hill returned to the scene of her London 2012 glory yesterday to mark the arrival of the first Boris bikes in the Olympic park.
The Olympic and world champion heptathlete unveiled the £1.4 million expansion of the Mayor’s bike hire scheme – including some special edition gold bikes to reflect the 2012 legacy. It is the third expansion of the scheme, following its arrival at Canary Wharf and then Wandsworth and Chelsea.
Now sponsored by Santander, the scheme will have 310 docking points at eight docking stations in the 560-acre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including sites at the velodrome, aquatics centre and Stratford station.
Ennis-Hill, a Santander ambassador, said the Olympic expansion of the scheme – almost six years after its central London launch – was “brilliant”. However she said she rarely got to ride a bike, being limited to a static bike in the gym for her strict training regime.
She said: “The venue is so iconic and holds lots of great memories for me, but above all there is so much to do and see around the park.”
The scheme is the second largest in Europe, with 11,500 bikes and 761 docking stations.
Two more docking stations will be opened at Here East, the new “digital quarter” on the north-west corner of the Olympic park, in the Spring. More docking stations are also planned for King’s Cross, Stockwell and Vauxhall. The bikes have been hired more than 47 million times.
The other docking stations in the Olympic park unveiled today are at the Orbit tower, East Village, Copper Box, Timber Lodge and Monier Road. Transport for London hopes the bikes will encourage cyclists to use cycle superhighway 2, currently being rebuilt and due to be completed by April, to ride between Stratford and central London.
Mr Johnson said: “It is fantastic to see our iconic cycle hire scheme spread its wings to the glorious setting of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“The scheme has developed beyond recognition since it first started. It’s a real boost for commuters, shoppers and tourists, and another shot in the arm for booming east London.”