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5:35am on Thursday, 7th May, 2009:

Cycling Citizens


Strasbourg is one of those towns where people go around on bicycles a lot. It's not quite in the same league as Cambridge, Amsterdam and the entirety of Scandinavia, but it's definitely aiming for promotion from the championship.

This doesn't mean they follow the same conventions as other cycling cities, though. For a start, the cycle lanes are on the pavements but not next to the road. Pedestrians have to walk in between the bikes and the cars. If I cyclist wants to get onto the road, they cut across the footpath. This being France, however, cyclists ignore the cycle lanes anyway and ride anywhere they please. I think they may make some effort to go in the right dirction if the cycle lane is two way, but then again they could just use the footbath so they don't have to worry about anything more than flattening a pedestrian.

The reason the the cycle lanes is in part because the city centre is medieval in scale and it's hard to get around on a car there. It's also in part due to the presence of the European Parliament and its eclectic mix of nationalities. I saw people apparently jogging to work, setting us all a great example for maintaining fitness but nevertheless not the kind of person you'd wan to sit next to all day. Maybe there are showers available in the parliament buildings.

Oh, and BBC weather forecasters: you told me it wsn't going to rain in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning. You were wrong.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).