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In Bruges...

itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
edited May 2010 in Commuting chat
for a brief holiday between jobs. And friends have been texting me with lines from the film, so don't start :P

I didn't bring a bike, because I'm traveling with non-cyclists. I have been told off for staring at the bikes. Anyway...

OK, so... Bikes everywhere. There's no segregation; the only cycle lanes are to allow cyclists to go the wrong way down one-way streets, if you see what I mean. Drivers in Bruges are so used to cyclists that they know how to behave. And so do the pedestrians! It's great. I've seen the natives glaring at tourists who walk in the few cycle lanes!

If I had brought a bike, I wouldn't have chosen the Mixer, because it would have been a bit rough on the cobbles. Also, it would have stood out like a Wag in a convent; the bikes here are fugly. Everybody rides heavy, Dutch-style tourers which may be very sensible with all the cobbled streets but by god they're boring and inelegant. I recognise almost none of the makes (the occasional Giant but not good choices.; Often, the brand names seem to be trying to compensate for the fugliness; I have never seen a bike less worthy of the name "Gazelle" than the local make with that name. My 10-year old Trek Navigator would not only cope fine with the cobbles but would look like a cutting edge fashion statement here.

Tomorrow I may rent a bike just to see what's possible here. I wish I had brought the Mixer, just to see how people would react.

Posts

  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Dutch bikes are great. No gears, coaster brakes, smooth ride and flat countryside. Certainly in Holland you see few bikes expensive bikes or many with drop handlebars - but then over there, transport tends to be transport. Much less snobbery etc.

    As for your Charge - nobody would have looked at it.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Eau RougeEau Rouge Posts: 1,118
    The main reason everyone has a fairly terrible bike is because it will be stolen in the near future. There is no "maybe" about it. If your a little lucky you find it again a few days and steal it back.

    I should be going to Brugge for a weekend in a couple of months. I can see myself being just as distracted by the bikes :)
  • FrankMFrankM Posts: 129
    edited May 2010
    itsbruce wrote:
    the bikes here are fugly. Everybody rides heavy, Dutch-style tourers which may be very sensible with all the cobbled streets but by god they're boring and inelegant. I recognise almost none of the makes (the occasional Giant but not good choices.; Often, the brand names seem to be trying to compensate for the fugliness; I have never seen a bike less worthy of the name "Gazelle" than the local make with that name.

    The same is true of Copenhagen and I assume most other Northern European cities. I always understood this to be because cycling in these cities is simply a way of life, and something people have grown up with since they were kids. It's not "cool" or something to be used to make a statement and people don't commute to get fit. People cycle to get around which is why they don't wear lycra, cycle particularly fast or have clipless pedals.

    My guess is that if someone turned up with a flash bike or cycled to work in lycra in Copenhagen, most locals would think they were a bit mad - see here:
    http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/
  • posh_pedallerposh_pedaller Posts: 124
    My sister is currently working in Antwerp, she's amazed at how many people cycle She hasn't taken it up herself yet, but her husband loves being able to bike everywhere with their two daughters in a trailer. (TBH I think he just liked the excuse to buy a flashy new hardtail)
    FCN 7
    Porridge and coffee - the breakfast of champions
  • MonkeyMonsterMonkeyMonster Posts: 4,628
    good film that.
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    Was in Geneva for work a couple of weeks back. Struck by how many cyclists there were in the city, how few helmets were worn (i.e. none) and how courteous the drivers appeared to be (very).

    Johnny Swiss keeps his roads in excellent condition.
  • itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
    Eau Rouge wrote:
    The main reason everyone has a fairly terrible bike is because it will be stolen in the near future. There is no "maybe" about it. If your a little lucky you find it again a few days and steal it back.

    That would explain why none of the bikes are clean, either ;)

    There are some nice looking tourers to be seen, mostly Batavus models. Have seen a few Trek tourer models that I've never seen in the UK (not very attractive). Have now spotted one or two sharper Giant models - all mountain bikes.

    Bike rental is cheap, may take advantage.
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