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Tinker Tailor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cruising around Europe this last weekend and thought about you guys.One would ask why? Well, I have a growing appreciation for other foreign cultures. We (Americans) have a long way to go before we can integrate the bicycle into society as well as these folks do. The great thing about their bikes is the style and color really does not matter, neither does the brand. I have tried all weekend to find a brand name I recognized. Nothing,nil,nada,non. All the bikes are rusty old black or other mundane color pos. I watched women ride piggy-back side saddle on the racks of these things during rush hour. The city has lanes strictly for bikes with their own traffic lights. We (wife and I) really enjoyed our time here and would highly suggest it as a future travel experience for all. I have attached a few pictures of the designed bike racks at the Central Station. Go. Did I mention BEER.

p.s. My clothes still smell kinda funny,and don't worry we did not let our little one........drive. ;)







 

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We're too spoiled by cheap gas prices (even at $2.00+) for bikes to be considered a mode of transportation here in the U.S. Its unfortunate, but thats the way it is. I saw a chart today that compared our gas prices to those in Europe. France, Germany, Netherlands, etc all were $5.00+ a gallon. With gas prices that high, city planners start considering bikes as a mode of transportation that people would actually use. Most people in the US are too lazy to bicycle anywhere, especially when gas is so cheap. Thomas Friedman (reporter) was on TV the other day talking about how the US government should peg the price of gas at $4 by taxing it. He figured at that price, we'd wise up.
 

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old skool newbie
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ahh the good ol daze

Thanks for posting the pictures of the bike racks

I lived in Amsterdam for a couple of years and rode everywhere, along with everyone else. Its mad there, they have bicycle traffic. Everyone moves in packs from the traffic lights since they all ride single speeds.

The building I lived in had no car parking, but the bike racks had at least 100+ bikes. It was a chore to find your non-descript black bike in with all the others. I never paid more than $40 for a bike, (1 stolen, & 1 burned in fire) but wouldn't hesitate to shell out double for multiple locks (high bike theft).

The steepest incline was over the canal bridges. I used to dream of the Rocky Mtn singletrack at home and of riding for fun, not just to get from here to there. Now I am back in Colorado and dream about being able to commute the 30+ miles to work, instead of waiting for the weekend to get on my bike.
 

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Premium Member
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Great shot!

I took almost the same picture as the second one (only without the bus) when I was there a year ago. We have a laptop in our living room that cycles through all of our digital pictures and I have been asked by a couple of people what that picture is. I love the reaction when people hear that all of those thousands of objects in the clutter on the parking structure are bikes. Even non bikers think it's pretty cool! :)
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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Wow, nice!

And I thought finding a CAR in a parking garage was difficult! :eek:
 

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Southern Fried mUni
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Ringer X said:
We (Americans) have a long way to go before we can integrate the bicycle into society as well as these folks do.
It will never happen......and it has more to do with geography than anything else. Unless you live in a major metro area a bicycle is not a realistic option in the US and far too many of us do not live in those regions.

Cool pics though!
 

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PhillyD
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Not all Euprope (Sadly)

Unfortunatley its not like this in the UK, here in London cyclists are 2nd class citizens (whatever politicians try to pretend), cycle lanes regularly stop at busy junctions and offer no way across, and buses vans and taxi's see it almost as their right to cut you up.
On a long road ride we had numerous people shout at us as they buzzed past, just to scare us.
Not bad enough to stop me riding or commuting but not the European love of cycling that you get in France or Italy.

Philip
 

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Ah, Amsterdam! Finally a thread about the Netherlands! Only when i'm on holiday do i realize that bike-only lanes are something special, not something to complain about. I'd still swap them for the killer trails you have in the US, though.

RingerX: most of the brands that produces such bikes are probably not sold in the US, and with the state most of them are in it's hard to tell the brand anyway. Something you can't tell by looking at the picture is dat a lot of people use plastic bags over their saddles to identify their bike more easily.

Oh, by the way, if you ever visit Amsterdam, leave your bike indoors, this city has the highest bike-theft rate in the world (and probably also the cheapest second hand bikes :) )
 

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L1MEY
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pacman said:
Give anyone in any country enough money and they'll drive cars.
Not true!

First off, I hope you're not suggesting that people in Europe only ride bikes because they're poor... that's ridiculous.

Secondly, European cities are notoriously crowded. The street layout in most large European cities is hundreds of years old (even dating back to Roman times in some cases), so the streets are just not designed to take the volume of traffic that tries to navigate through the streets. In addition to that, parking is very difficult to find even if you have the money to pay for it. For a short journey, cycling or even walking is quicker than driving. For a longer journey, public transport is a lot less hassle (note the amount of people who travel in the First Class carriages on trains... they are certainly not lacking in money).

- Jen.
 

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L1MEY
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PhillyD said:
Unfortunatley its not like this in the UK, here in London cyclists are 2nd class citizens (whatever politicians try to pretend), cycle lanes regularly stop at busy junctions and offer no way across, and buses vans and taxi's see it almost as their right to cut you up.
On a long road ride we had numerous people shout at us as they buzzed past, just to scare us.
Not bad enough to stop me riding or commuting but not the European love of cycling that you get in France or Italy.

Philip
No kidding... London drivers are insane! Cardiff is pretty bike safe though... I lived there for 3 years and commuted by bike everywhere. There aren't a whole lot of bike lanes, but I didn't have too many problems with arsehole drivers while I was there. Trouble is, none of the political parties excapt the Greens really seem to care. While I'm sure schools, hospitals and crime are all issues that need addressing, it'd be nice to see environmental topics headlining the manifestos of the 'big three' for a change.

- Jen.
 

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Tinker Tailor
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
yup

zod said:
It will never happen......and it has more to do with geography than anything else. Unless you live in a major metro area a bicycle is not a realistic option in the US and far too many of us do not live in those regions.

Cool pics though!
It will never happen......and it has more to do with geography than anything else. Unless you live in a major metro area a bicycle is not a realistic option in the US and far too many of us do not live in those regions.
We have an exception......my nephew commutes every spring and summer from Cornell to the Island (NY). He seems to be a little on the "cars are coffins" wave length but neverless avoids cars. I would hope the sky rocketing fuel prices would convince, at least a few of us to commute or at least ride more. 9 million peeps in NYC and last time I tried to ride there I almost died... :(

Did I mention we are moving to Alaska in June... :D
 

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mahgnillig said:
Not true!

First off, I hope you're not suggesting that people in Europe only ride bikes because they're poor... that's ridiculous.

- Jen.
Poor relative to their peers: London has to charge a fee for autos to enter the city, so those with enough money use autos. Think of Germans and their auto-love and autobahn. In China people could stay on bicycles yet the market has phenomenal growth, will be 10 million per year by 2010.

All those bikes are in use make me think that public transit is unavailable or too expensive.
 

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Tear it all out!
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How about a pic of a bike parkade in Kyoto, Japan?



I also have a similar photo to the at the top of this thread from outside of the train station in Bruge, Belgium.
 

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L1MEY
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pacman said:
Poor relative to their peers: London has to charge a fee for autos to enter the city, so those with enough money use autos. Think of Germans and their auto-love and autobahn. In China people could stay on bicycles yet the market has phenomenal growth, will be 10 million per year by 2010.

All those bikes are in use make me think that public transit is unavailable or too expensive.
The fee to enter central London is called the Congestion Charge (read about it here: http://www.cclondon.com/whatis.shtml . This was an initiative started by the Mayor of London to try to address the overcrowding problem on the streets and encourage people to use public transport instead of their cars. I don't know about you, but I would much rather go to work by bike or train than sit in a traffic jam for hours. I know plenty of people who commute to London every day by train (I was born and raised less than 50 miles from London), but still own cars to drive at other times.

Cost is not the issue here, it's overcrowding and the ease of getting where you need to. Public transport is readily available in Europe, and usually pretty cheap. It's quite ignorant to assume that everyone would drive everywhere if they could afford it... but I guess that's part of that 'American Dream' that everyone's destroying the planet for.
 

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L1MEY
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zod said:
You were saying???
I would be ignorant if I had made an assumption without having first hand experience of living in both Europe and the US. I don't know whether Pacman has ever been to the UK, but his (or her) assumption that people ride bikes in Europe because they are poor doesn't seem like it is based on experience.

Obviously in some places it's just not viable to cycle everywhere. I don't ride to work because it's an 18 mile journey and uphill all the way there (I live in the Vegas valley and work about 1000' higher in Henderson). I'm also terrified of the speed the traffic moves on the route I'd have to take. However, if I lived within 5 miles of work I would cycle without hesitation (I used to ride to my second job - 2 miles with a bike path, so there was no excuse ;))

- Jen.
 
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