Since they arrived on the streets of the capital ten years ago Santander cycles – commonly known as ‘Boris Bikes’ – have become a part of London life.

With more than 700,000 users last month – a new January record for the scheme – they are more popular than ever.

But who can claim to be the biggest fan of London’s bike hire project?

Few could boast the dedication of keen Harrow cyclist Sakhr Al-Makhadi – perhaps the first person ever to ride one of the bikes.

Mr Al-Makhadi was today named as the first monthly winner of a year long Transport for London (TfL) competition, celebrating a decade of the bikes.

He will win a year’s free riding and have a bike named in his honour in recognition of his cycling story.

Mr Al-Makhadi was determined to be London’s first hire rider – in 2010, he watched a rank of bikes being installed from the window of his Shoreditch office.

On Friday 30 July – the day of the launch – he stayed with a friend in central London, and woke up at 5.30am in the hopes that he would get a first shot on the bikes when they were unlocked at 6am.

Mr Al-Makhadi was so keen to take a bike for a spin that he tried his members’ key on a bike in Dorset Square, Marylebone, at 5.55am – and it worked.

He said: “Within seconds, a taxi driver hooted at me and congratulated me for being the first one.

“I made a few loops around Regent’s Park, and then cycled across London (in the days before the cycle superhighways) to my office in Shoreditch.

“It was a slow journey because people kept stopping me to ask about the bikes, and how to hire them.”

The news producer is now based in Doha, Qatar – and since his first cycle hire experience in London, he has rented bikes in Rome, Berlin, Brussels, Toulouse, Oslo, Barcelona, Washington DC and Mexico City.

Mr Al-Makhadi said: “Every time I get on a bike in a new city, I feel proud that London has inspired the world.”