Ma bicyclette

December 23, 2008 suesbent
Tags: , ,

Have you seen all of the bicycles in Europe? It is a valid and accepted form of transport with appropriate infrastructure provided alongside their footpaths and roads. Often you will see, running parallel to the motorway, the heads of people gliding along obviously attached to bodies on bikes. The inner cities are full of bicycles and riders. Amsterdam is quite an eye-opener and pedestrians need to be fully aware as they try to navigate their way around – especially those of us from Australia where the cars travel on the other side of the road. Not only do you have to look around for car traffic but also for bicycle traffic. There are even traffic lights for bicycles.


With the price of fuel rising steeply and continuously, the ridiculous road traffic jams, and the sardine-packed trains and trams, Melbourne is finally seeing more and more people using bicycles for commuting to work and school. I think it is a great development and hope our bureaucrats start to get serious about providing sensible infrastructure to accommodate this.


Whenever I can I ride to work. I live close to one of the places I work and so it only takes me about 10 minutes to get there. I have two bikes: one is a cheap run-around; the other is an expensive road racer. On weekends I join a group of road cyclists and we follow a regular route ending at a local bakery for coffee and a chat. I love it and have been doing this for about 6 or 7 years now. So I don all of the lycra gear and bike shoes with cleats and try to power along. There can be some dangerous situations with cars along the way, but I err on the side of caution always and tend to cling to the gutter if necessary.


Riding to work is totally different. I dress for work, get out the heavy solid chariot and slowly wind my way along the deserted back streets taking short cuts through car parks and arrive at work stress-free and without the trouble of having to locate an all-day car-park for my car (which is conveniently parked at home in a lock-up garage).


In Europe I saw well-dressed people sitting upright atop their old rattley bikes serenely turning the wheels of their jalopy and being shown due courtesy by those in cars and busses. We here in Australia could certainly learn a thing or two about sharing our roads. It is a real pity more people don’t use bicycles for transport for those little trips to the shops. We would all be a little bit healthier for it too.


Riding my bike to work makes me feel French. Especially after seeing first-hand the delightful way the communities accept this great form of travel in the beautiful, sophisticated, cosmopolitan and historic cities of Europe.


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