15 May 2012

Not half bad: Green light for bike-friendly Barcelona

It's dispiriting to compare our current chilly spring with Barcelona's. I was there in March and it was lovely.

It's dispiriting to compare Barça's cycling situation with London's, too. The Catalan capital has gone from having no bike culture to a thriving one in just a decade or so.

I know which capital I'd rather live in too, and it's not just because of the two-euro bottles of wine and Mediterranean beachside.
Partly Barça's bike-friendliness is due to the very popular cycle-hire scheme, 'Bicing' (right) - for locals only, sadly, so I couldn't have a go on one.

Partly it's due to the system of cycle tracks round the city centre (top right), taking advantage of those wide boulevards. A bit skeletal, but useful; outside it, Barça's cyclists thread in and out of pedestrians in the narrow streets of the old Barrio Gotic, and nobody seems to mind much.

Whatever the case, the cycling scene is strong. And none of this hi-vis-jacket-and-helmet nonsense you have in London: like York, it's full of normally-clothed people just getting from A to B on two wheels.
And one traffic light caught my eye (right). Not only does the pedestrian appear to be kicking the bike - perhaps he's annoyed with so much pavement cycling after all - but there's only half a bike.

Perhaps it's the missing front half of the traffic light in York I noted recently...

1 comment:

  1. I had a great time cycling around Barcelona last year, but the absolute best city in Europe for cycling is Copenhagen. There, the bikes rule the road! I wish it was more like that in London