Friday, December 28, 2007

Tonnes of Bikes!

In Munich, the city has dedicated bikelanes all over, at the side of the car lanes. You should see all the people riding around on bikes! Then, when they get to where they are going, they lock the bikes up, en masse.

So many bikes that it makes theft negligible - can you imagine targeting a bike here, with all the people coming and going to the parking area?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Germans use bicycles to deliver the mail!

On a recent trip to Munich, I was pleasantly surprised by how much Germans use bicycles to get around! There were dedicated bicycle paths along all roads, major or minor, and cyclists even had their own signals! Tonnes of bike parking gave everyone the chance to securely store their vehicles, and because there were so many of them theft is not a problem. Most of the bikes were practical, with fenders and bells, not like the sport-geared bikes were see a lot of in Canada.

The mail is delivered by bicycle, which eases parking and lets the mail person get around quicker and more comfortably!
The train system (Deutsche Bahn) rents bikes at each train station, and they are perfect to get around town for the day, and can then be dropped off before you get back on the train! And they are reasonably priced. No worries about transportation in a strange town...

Altogether a really informative trip - it showed me how things could work here with a little effort. It is no wonder that Germany clobbered us in the environmental rankings!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Commuting in Beijing Problematic

The commute into Beijing (a city of 17 million) can be shortened by adding bicycles into the mix. Check out this article in the Toronto Star, where a neuroradiologist uses his bike to navigate intense inner-city traffic:
Apparently there are only 13 million cars for 1.3 billion Chinese - that's one car for every hundred Chinese! Not to worry, the market for cars there is the fastest-growing in the world, at 26% per year. Soon everyone will have a car to zip in to work (or spend hours in traffic)! Count me out!

In India, some computer programmers are spearheading a program to encourage cycling to work to cut down on the intense pollution and traffic problems. Mr. Dasarathi heads the organization Go Cycle to lobby for bicycle lanes and facilities and to encourage bicycle use. He says that India is caught in developing-country syndrome, where the use of the bicycle is discouraged, but bicycling to work is fun, good for the health and for the environment! Check it out in BBC News at: