Upper-Intermediate Instant Lesson™
On Your Bike
Pre-Reading ActivitiesA: Make A Decision
Form groups of three. Read the problem below.
A community group wants to support parents of young children in the community. It begins offering a free music session once a week in which children and their parents can sing and dance and then have coffee together. However, they find that the parents are often late for the session. They do not control the behavior of their children and the musical instruments, donated by the community group, are stolen or damaged by the children. The community group has to decide whether or not to continue the session. What could they do to improve things? Do you think they should make parents pay for the session? If you do, should it be a large amount or a small amount?
A: Looking For The Main Idea
Look through the article and decide as quickly as possibly which of the statements below summarizes the main idea of the article:
1. London has introduced a scheme to encourage people to use bikes and taxis.
2. Cities introducing bike schemes have difficulties with theft.
3. It is hoped a rental bike scheme will decrease traffic problems in London.
Hire scheme aims to get Londoners on bikes
Article © 2010 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2010 www.english-to-go.com
Thu Jul 29, LONDON (Reuters) - A fleet of 6,000 bicycles for hire will hit the streets of central London on Friday when the city's mayor Boris Johnson launches a scheme intended to fuel a cycling revolution in the congested capital.
The initiative, which follows similar projects in cities including Paris and Montreal, aims to ease overcrowding on London's commuter network, with 400 bicycle "docking stations" from Notting Hill in the west to the Tower of London in the east.
"The new system could transform the way Londoners as well as tourists navigate the city," said a spokesman for Transport for London (TFL), the capital's main travel authority.
Nicknamed "Boris's Bikes" after cycle-mad Mayor Boris Johnson, the system is free for the first half hour, although the rate rises steeply if the cycles are used for longer periods, with a maximum daily charge of 50 pounds ($78).
London has tried to learn lessons from Paris and Montreal, making changes to prevent vandalism and theft, problems which plagued the French and Canadian systems to begin with, the spokesman said.
Initially, many of Paris's hire bikes or "Vélibs" were thrown in the River Seine or discovered for sale in markets in Africa, he said.
At a hefty 23 kg (51 lb), the London bike's weight will discourage thieves as well as cutting out the wobbles for less confident cyclists, he added.
STURDY AND SAFE
A Reuters journalist who tested out one of the blue and silver bikes in the busy traffic around Trafalgar Square found it sturdy and safe but felt its design sacrificed speed for stability.
Cycling has become fashionable in Britain in recent years, helped by the British Olympic cycling team which won eight gold medals at the 2008 Games.
An estimated 500,000 bike journeys are made each day in the capital. Mayor Johnson cycled around the velodrome this week to mark the two-year countdown to the London Olympics.
The cycle hire scheme is just one in a series of moves by Johnson to make the winding, traffic-choked streets of the capital more bike-friendly. Motorists have to pay a daily congestion charge if they drive into the city center.
Two new bright blue "cycle superhighways" were unveiled this week, providing cyclists with extra road space and better visibility at traffic lights. Cyclists often have to jostle for space alongside London's red buses and black taxis and shouting matches between riders and drivers are common.
"If these plans work out and there are more bikes on the road and fewer cars, London will be a better place," London cab driver Peter Makin told Reuters.
British services giant Serco secured a 140 million-pound ($220 million) six-year contract with TFL to set up the bike hire scheme, 25 million of which was recouped with sponsorship from British banking giant Barclays.
Number of bikes: - Nickname for scheme: - When scheme was started: - Number of stations: - Charges: ______ for first 30 minutes, with maximum daily charge of _______ pounds Cost of scheme over six years: _______ million pounds
Name Occupation Why mentioned in the article Boris Johnson _________ _______________________________________________ TFL _________ _______________________________________________ _________ Taxi Cab driver _______________________________________________ _________ Bank _______________________________________________
You have decided to put the London idea into action in the area you live. How will you stop people stealing the bikes or wrecking them? How will you market the idea?
B: An Interview
Work in pairs.
Student A: You are the Mayor of London. You are going to be interviewed by an international newspaper about the scheme. Before you meet with the reporter, think about what you want to say.
Student B: You are a reporter for an international newspaper. You are going to interview the Mayor of London about the scheme. Before you meet with the reporter, think about what you want to find out.
C: A Short Essay
"People don't value anything that they can get for free. Free food, a free class, a bike. People don't value these things unless they have to pay for them. If you want someone to value something, they have to pay for it in some way."
With a partner, discuss what this statement means. Then write a short essay saying whether you agree or disagree with this statement.
|Too much traffic on streets in London||-->||Set up 400 bike stations with free bikes for people to use||-->||Fewer cars, less traffic congestion|
|People in other cities with free bike scheme
damage or steal
|-->||Make bikes heavier||-->||Bikes are harder to steal|
|Lack of space on roads causes biking accidents||-->||Set up blue cycle highways providing cyclists with more space||-->||Fewer bicycle accidents|
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