Around The World By Bike

WHERE SHOULD YOU RIDE A BIKE? EV­ERY­WHERE! BUT HERE ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO ROLL:

Bicycling (South Africa) - - STORIES -

Paris

“At­tenseeoooon!” That’s not how you spell ‘ Watch out!’ in French, but it is what she said as she rat­tled across the Pont Notre- Dame, yelling her warn­ing – shrill and ur­gent, her flouncy skirt flounc­ing for all its worth – one golden evening this Euro­pean sum­mer. I will never for­get her.

The pedes­tri­ans duly paid at­ten­tion, and no un­to­ward con­tact was made. It al­most never is, in a city where so many peo­ple are on bi­cy­cles, you won­der why any­one would down­grade to a car.

And no- one rides an ugly bike, of course.

Chandi­garh

Yes, in India. But it’s India’s only planned city, way up north in the Pun­jab. That means the traf­fic makes sense, even to com­par­a­tively shel­tered South Africans. So many ve­hi­cles – of all de­scrip­tions, and some that defy de­scrip­tion – are on these clogged roads that a bike isn’t some­thing weird. It’s just an­other ve­hi­cle on the road, and ac­corded the same re­spect as all the oth­ers.

Lon­don

Lon­don’s cy­clists tend to be a grim bunch – they are mis­er­able Poms, after all – but you won’t want for bike lanes, hir­ing op­tions, and fel­low trav­ellers. And it’s mostly flat. Watch out for the black- cab drivers, though: they re­spect noth­ing and no- one but their own sorry ilk.

Florence

Maybe it’s the cob­ble­stones, or the fact that many of the streets are nar­row cap­il­lar­ies, or the hordes of pedes­tri­ans – es­pe­cially in tourist sea­son. But even the most un­prac­tised ur­ban cy­clist is as safe as a bet on the All Blacks to beat the Boks, in the grace­ful ooze of move­ment on the roads of this painfully beau­ti­ful city.

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