16 Feb 2018
Australian bird names (the English names, anyway) are often enjoyably “say what you see”. A long time ago Sarah and I spent an unforgettable time in Oz, up close and personal with a lot of wildlife. We imagined the early colonists, privileged first Westerners (or Easterners, depending how you measure it) seeing species for the first time and being the ones to pick names for the new things. It’s feeding on honey? What’s that: its chest looks scaly? Oh yeah, scaly-breasted honeyeater. Iridescent with a fancy tail? Superb fairywren (as opposed to the splendid variety, or the lovely). How did they knew they wouldn’t encounter an even superber fairywren as they explored further?
Anyway, ofo is a bike rental scheme. It’s a clever name because the word is meant to look like a person on a bike. A kind of visual onomatopoeia; say what you see.
Cambridge has had these banana yellow bikes for a while now. I’ve got plenty bikes of my own, but I was pleased to have a recent opportunity to try out one of these high-tech two-wheelers. Download an app, give it your payment details and it’s sort of like Uber. Except Uber doesn’t have the thrill of scanning a QR code, and then hearing a thunk as the bike unlocks itself: the Bluetooth bit. Adjust the saddle (it maxed out a bit low for this 6ft rider; #monkeyknees), throw a leg over and you’re off. The ride is alright - much better than a Boris Bike, but you get warm quickly. I think the ones in Cambridge only have a single gear.
It’s 50p for every 30 minutes; leave the bike wherever you like (within the geofence around the city); lock it, and walk away. For leaving it in a designated “parking” spot you get a credit, so it’s pretty easy to ride for free.
Highly recommended. My referral code (gets you a free ride) is
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