Around The World By Bike
WHERE SHOULD YOU RIDE A BIKE? EVERYWHERE! BUT HERE ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO ROLL:
“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.
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’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.
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.