Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bikes in Belgium

I discovered a photo I snapped of a magazine page at the library about Pashley bicycles. I keep toying with the idea, but no, I already own two bikes I rarely ride and Pashley's are expensive.  I think I might ride more often if I had a step-through (with a cute basket!), but it's not a gamble I'm going to take in the near future.  (But they are pretty.)

In any case, it reminded me that I never showed you photos of all the amazing bikes we saw in Belgium.  In fact, there are a number of things I didn't show you from that trip, which I will do in future.  Travel agents around here advertise 'City Breaks' or 'Short Breaks' which just weekend trips.  Just think of these long-after-the-trip posts as one of those.

Belgium is flat like Holland so cycling is relatively easy, particularly as bicycles have right of way in most places. 

People apparently commute quite a bit by bike and by train. 

Love her hair and her outfit!
There are a lot of cycles to be seen at some British train stations, but neither Bill nor I had ever seen this phenomenal number of parked bicycles in one place.  You see them at station after station in Belgium.

Also, everyone rides, not just youngsters or young men. 

Business men, older women, stylish women in high heels, entire families.  I could have shown you an amazing young woman riding down the street wearing a purple mini-skirt and tall platform heels with bright orange tights on her long legs, but 'someone' elbowed me to point her out just as I was snapping her photo.

The bikes themselves can be quite unusual, with bits welded on or trailing behind in really amazing ways. 

We found an interesting collection just outside of a primary school.

One could haul all sorts in that wheel barrow shaped thing in the front:

This seemed pretty straight-forward, just lift up the wheel of the child's bike, weld it to your bike and away you pedal!

I'm not clear who sits where on this one!

Some of the bikes were motorised, it has to be admitted.   

I guess this young man didn't want to get his smart leather jacket sweaty.

And Bill couldn't help but admire this unusual bike as well. Or is it a trike?

We took stock one evening sitting outside at a pavement cafe at rush hour one evening:  we only saw one or two people who could remotely be considered overweight.   Then again, the cyclists are probably not a representative sample, just the fittest end of the spectrum.   Cycling, along with cafe pavements and wearing scarves! seems to be a major characteristic of the European city life.


Suburban Princess said...

That's amazing! I wouldn't dare ride a bike around here with all the crazy drivers and pedestrians out on the loose. I was just looking at my bike the other day and realized it's been years...YEARS since I even took it out of the garage!

Beryl said...

Thanks for the tour! Your pictures are great. I love your description of the short City Breaks. What a neat idea.
I've been looking at bikes in this Book and Bike shop in Claremore, since it's dry enough here to use one. Those Pashleys look sweet!

BigLittlWolf said...

Did you run into one of my sons on a borrowed bike while you were there? (**grin**)

One of his favorite countries. And mine. Diverse, beautiful, three languages, all sorts of dialects, extraordinary food, two distinct cultures. And easy enough for my kid studying in Switzerland to get himself there to hang out with friends and yes, even to bike...

Indeed, it is flat!

(If you pop by one of my Pinterest boards, you'll see a pic I took in Bruges many many moons ago. Beautiful.)

Anonymous said...

I heard a radio program today talking about people in the US who take bikes on buses and then bike to their destination from a bus stop. But I really wish Americans were more geared to bicycles, we would be more fit as a nation.

Rick Stone said...

My oldest son does not have a car. In a city that cover 600 square miles this is a real problem to get around. He does have the patience to ride the public bus and does put his bike in the rack on the front of the bus. Often takes him a couple of hours and several bus changes to get to his destination. We also have very few streets with bike lanes here so he really has to be dedicated to attempt to go anywhere.