Just around the corner from the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel is a Boris Bike stand that would be otherwise unremarkable except that one half of it has been colonised by pigeons, and they have taken to the bikes with great enthusiasm.

Bikes and Pigeons in a tow

Most seem to have discovered that the rubber seats make for very comfortable spots to nap or preen themselves.

Bike seat making for a comfy location

Another might be of a musical bent as it has chosen the bell for a perch.

The bell is a convenient perch

Not all of them are quite so skilled at riding the bikes – as this one who is facing backwards is getting a suitably frustrated look of annoyance from his neighbour.

Some face backwards when riding the bike

Then again, when working correctly as a team, they should be able to safely brake when out and about on the bikes.

One per brake handle

Obviously, the best view for a pigeon is right up front though.

Riding up front

There are plenty of stories of pigeons using the tube trains to get around town, but who would have thought they would take to cycling with such enthusiasm. I wonder what Brian makes of it all?

More seriously, this is half a cycle stand that is essentially unusable due to the pigeon muck all over the bikes, and as only half the bike rack seems to be affected it would be a good idea to simply take that block of cycle stands out of action and clean up the bikes for use elsewhere.

Or time to deploy a plastic owl.


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  1. JohnHB says:

    any thoughts as to why the other section of the bike stand appears to be pigeon resistant ? is it sufficiently unfavourable, that in the event that one tranche of bikes is removed for cleaning, the pigeons will not simply adapt to the evolutionary pressure to hop over to the previously rejected section? maybe for the sake of retaining one clean section, it is best to abandon the other to the pigeons, and hope the human riders learn to carry cleaning materials ?

    • IanVisits says:

      I suspect from the mess on the ground that the bikes have been installed in a previously pigeon dominated plot of land.

      Which might explain why only half the bike stand is so affected.

      Even if the whole stand were to be affected, it is essentially a write off in that location and should be moved or removed.

  2. JohnHB says:

    I also intended to say – cracking set of pictures !

  3. RobH says:

    “Even if the whole stand were to be affected, it is essentially a write off in that location and should be moved or removed.”

    Lieutenant Pigeon replies:
    “That’s what we want so we can reclaim our turf, like the Krays before us we protect our manor”
    “Now DO ONE”.

  4. JohnHB says:

    I hope Lt. Pigeon is not planning raids elsewhere on the basis of the success at this site ! – or maybe this is not so unusual ? though perhaps not quite to the extent captured by Ian above – as Ian suggests, it seems likely that installing the bike racks here must have disturbed a favoured roosting spot – I wonder what was there before ?

  5. martxw says:

    I had been remarking how London’s pigeons seemed much healthier than they had been in the 1970s & 80s, but recently I’ve seen a lot more deformed and diseased ones. I wonder why. Perhaps they track recessions?

  6. whitechapel says:

    Afraid this is due to local restaurant owners constantly providing seeds and bread attracting these pigeons

    • IanVisits says:

      The only “restaurant” that could be considered local enough to bother is the fried chicken in a box vendor on the other side of the road, unless “restaurant” owners are coming from the other side of the huge road junction to this specific location to deposit food waste?

      If so, then it would be very easy for the council to tell them to stop.

  7. Rod says:

    Lighten up a bit.Pigeons do not discriminate.They will land on convenient landing spots and do their thing.Although they do respect air space and will only crap on half of the bikes ; )

  8. Brian Pigeon says:

    Great pics! Have to say, I sat on one the other day and it was pretty comfortable. Not sure I’d live on one though. As far as riding is concerned, I may give it a go but someone else would have to do the pedals.

  9. Cat Morley says:

    Those are such cute pics!

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