Transport bosses in have launched a bid to plug a £5.5m-a-year-black hole in London's flagship "Boris Bikes" scheme.
The group hired the bikes at midnight on Friday and planned to return them before the 24-hour rental period expired.
Three friends managed to take a Boris bike on a trip up a French mountain before returning it with just 22 seconds to spare.
– Richard Busby, sponsorshop consultant
I think that the nickname is good from the perspective of getting it well known, it's not a boring bike hire scheme, the downside is it's not using the name of the sponsor.
The London Assembly claims the shortfall from hire fees means Londoners are subsidising each bike ride at a cost of £1.36.
It's the official launch today of TfL's bid to plug a £5.5 million a year hole in Boris Bikes after Barclays walked away.
TfL opened the tender process claiming: "A number of globally renowned brands have already shown an interest."
The Mayor of London will today released 101 limited-edition yellow Boris bikes to mark the 100 days until the Tour de France comes to London. The bikes will be available until the Tour arrives on the 7th of July in London.
The Mayor is set to announce the winning boroughs of his flagship "mini-Holland" initiative today.
The shortlisted boroughs are Bexley, Ealing, Enfield, Kingston, Merton and Newham, Richmond and Waltham Forest.
100 million pounds will be invested to local communities and help make them as cycle-friendly as their Dutch equivalents.
Findings over the effects of the London cycle-hire scheme have been "reassuring", according to a scientist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who carried out a study to see the impact of Boris bikes. Dr Anna Goldman added:
When the cycle hire scheme was introduced, there were widespread concerns that increasing the number of inexperienced cyclists in central London would lead to higher injury rates.
Our findings are reassuring, as we found no evidence of this. On the contrary, our findings suggest that the scheme has benefited the health of Londoners and that cycle hire users are certainly not at higher risk than other cyclists.
London’s bicycle sharing system has more positive health impacts than negative effects, according to a new report. Research by the British Medical Journal revealed that Boris Bikes has had the greatest impact on older users.
Scientists balanced improvements to health from the physical activity of bike riding with the potentially harmful effects of physical injury and inhaling traffic fumes.
Between April 2011 and March 2012, 7.4 million cycle hire trips were made by 57,607 users.
The results of the computer modelling study found that the benefits far outweighed the harms, at least when looking at injury rates for people riding Boris bikes.
Many commuters switched to using the capital's bike hire scheme to get to and from work.
Barclays Cycle Hire journeys were up by 50% yesterday, with almost 30,000 hires.
The same trend has been seen today, with over 11,000 hires by 10am.