May 8, 2009

Bike Love

As a Dutchie, I am very used to cycling. To me a bike is the perfect way of transport: it’s flexible, quick and it gives me at least some daily exercise. But then flat Dutchland is perfect for it. We take our bikes everywhere. (I found this website of an American commenting on Dutch bike customs. It's pretty funny - but also pretty ignorant...)

Abroad it is usually a bit more challenging to ride a bike through busy cities; challenges being hills and motorists that are not used to cyclists and therefore try to run you over more frequently.

When I was in Geneva for the first part of my internship, biking was not really an option for, Geneva being a town in between the Jura mountains and the Alps. I HATE cycling uphill. So I used my car to drive around town and from work to my house. Better than public transport in this case, but it was far from perfect: heavy traffic during rush hour, problematic parking and f course environmentally unfriendly. The only really good thing is being able to sing along very loudly to my iPod. (Although they probably do saw me passionately mouthing the words…). That would be slightly less comfortable in a packed bus.

But here in Lyon they have a really cool system. They have ‘stations’ with bikes, electronically locked, on 250 places around the city, which basically means on every other street corner. After you’ve subscribed to this system – which is ridiculously cheap – you can unlock a bike at any station and return it again to any other station. And the bikes are generally quite good: they have working lights and cute little baskets for your coat/purse/shopping bags.

However, even though you see quite a few people riding these (and other bikes) around town, most Lyonese drivers are not yet entirely used to them. So I’ve found it’s safest to cycle over the tram tracks. Mind you, you have to use the tracks of the tram coming from the opposite tracks from you. You don’t want to be surprised by a tram ambushing you from behind…

So now this Dutchie gets to bike again! I love it. It makes me miss my own bike a little less….

I love my bike.

1 comment:

  1. I really wish my area in Southern California was bike savvy! It really is an inconvenience to ride a bike here due to the disrespect of car drivers towards bikers. But, I would love to find myself riding a bike to the stores or library. Unfortunately, the crazy drivers here would probably run me over!