23 April 2010
Barcelona Bicycle Passengers
Barcelona is a city that has remembraced the bicycle in so many ways, and in such a short amount of time. The citizens are hopping onto bicycles and using them like bicycles were intended for. As transport, claro, but also as enjoyable machines. Either by yourself, riding with a friend or two or three or, as this post attests, letting the wheels carry you and someone you know and quite possibly love on your way from A to B.
This is a sure sign of a healthy and thriving bicycle culture. People enjoying - it's that simple - the bicycle. Sights like this are increasingly common in many emerging bicycle cultures - France, Italy, Spain/Catalonia, Mexico and well-known in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark. Just look at that smile, above. It's the smile of someone who is having fun, enjoying time with friends/loved ones AND going from A to B.
These are not 'commodity fetishists' (as the bicycle historian Iain Boal calls them) who roll about like strutting like peacocks, hoping desperately that you'll notice their carbon fibre wonderbike, fancy 'cycling clothes', shiny helmet and all the other gadgets that a frightfully out-of-date/finger-off-the-pulse bicycle industry wants you to spend money on.
These are people who have been given the tool for quicker and more direct A to B transport through their city and who have realised - often sub-consciously - that it is enjoyable. Society will reap the benefits in the form of more liveable cities and a boom in better public health. It's a win-win-win-win situation. And damn, it looks fine. The bicycle is poetry. The city is the stage.
I like how this couple on the Bicing bike share bike resembles the couple on the bus in the advert, which was for holidays to Cuba.
Here's some fine examples of doubling, at top, and below it's French family making last minute adjustments before heading into the city and a supermum heading home from daycare.
And here at the end, a loving couple and a father and son. Visca Barcelona. Visca la bici.
If you don't see sights like this where you live, something is wrong with your bicycle culture.