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I’ve missed World Bicycle Day!

I’m a day late to blog about this, but I only realised yesterday afternoon: June 3 is World Bicycle Day.

Bicycles are my personal favourite means of transport. I’ve been cycling to school as a teen (even though my parents could have take me in the car), and I continued to cycle when I moved to study in Bamberg. That’s not only because of my green soul – cycling in Bamberg is much smarter than taking the car anyways, as there’s no parking spaces and those that are there are usually either full or really expensive, so this was also a very practical solution to the mobility problem. (My car was parked either a quarter hour bus ride away or a quarter hour walk away, as these were the closest free parking opportunities where one could find a space without too big a hassle.)

When I hooked up with the most patient husband of them all, we found that he was a cyclist as well, so our transport preferences combined beautifully. Only our riding speeds did not – I was much, much slower. Which is not a big deal within a city, but does cause potential problems when you are going on cycling holidays. So we looked for a tandem with enough luggage capacity for cycling trips including camping gear, and we did stumble across the Pino, a half-recumbent tandem made in a small bike manufacture in Germany. (If you’re interested in the bike, there’s the Pinoforum, where you can find more information. It even includes a small English part.)

On the tandem at a fun ride – we were doing about 60 km/h at this time, it was one of the nice downhill passages!

So when we have to go somewhere in our day-to-day life, the default means of transportation is the bike. If that’s not possible, due to some reason – too far away, too much to transport – we check for public transport possibilities. In some cases, these will combine very well with taking the bike along; there’s a special ticket in our area that allows two adults to take two bikes along (in our case, only one is necessary, though). If that won’t work, it’s the car. Which means we travel a lot by bike, and it’s usually just as quick to take bike or public transport and bike as it would be to take the car, or even quicker. For instance, when we go bouldering, it’s about 10.5 km one way. With the car, due to how we have to drive, it takes us about 25 minutes. With the bicycle, it takes us… 30 minutes, and we arrive with already warmed up legs – and don’t have to look for a parking space for another 5 minutes.

Even in combination with public transport, the bike rules, in the speed department as well as in the cost department. As my car is the company car, I have to do the proper maths for all its costs… and my cost for driving one kilometer is about .34 €. Often, using public transport is cheaper or, at the most, coming to the same cost.

Plus there’s the health benefits of using a bicycle… some (more or less) fresh air, and some joint-friendly movement. It’s important to have a bike that fits so you can ride easily and comfortably, though, so it might be worth to look for a good bike shop, and take a bike-nerdy friend along to help. I’d also recommend keeping your tyres nicely filled, that makes for a much smoother ride, you have to pedal much harder on flat tyres.

Every kilometre not done with a car, but with a bike instead, counts. We only have one planet, and using a bike helps to make it last a little longer. So – take the bike if you can, not only on World Bicycle Day!

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One Response to I’ve missed World Bicycle Day!

  1. Heather says:

    I look forward to cycling being an integrated transport option in the UK.

    At present any type of commuting by public transport would double the time and cost for me to get to work, even though I already live as close as possible. If it were cheaper, reliable, better connected and always carried bicycles it could be an option.

    What happens instead is commuting along national speed limit roads with vast hills, hidden bends and concealed junctions, full of surprise cyclists who having bought the kit now think they have the fitness and road awareness of Bradley Wiggins. It’s a puzzle where they come from – they aren’t commuting and there are better roads to practice on.

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