Monday, June 8, 2009

Riding in Stockholm

Cycling in Stockholm is easily the most fun I've had in a long time (our hostel had wonderful cruisers to rent free of charge). It has me thinking about riding in Seattle & what the main differences & commonalities there are. First, let me just say - yes, Stockholm is flat people, the largest hill I rode up didn't even compare with one city block on my way home from work each day in the states. With that said, I do think that there are two things to examine: urban planning & life style.

Urban Planning:
Stockholm recognizes biking as a preferred form of transportation; cyclists are not forced to choose between sidewalks & streets or pedestrians & motor vehicles. All roads contain bike lanes, often up on the sidewalk when streets or main boulevards have heavier traffic. At major lights, bikes have their own traffic light situation & a counted as a part of the situation. Paths & signage is clear & easy to follow. This recognition is the reason I think that cycling works in Stockholm.

Life Style:
The cyclists in Stockholm place an emphasis on biking for transportation, they do not seem to be in a hurry. For comparison, people in the states that walk to work, they do not run. It's the same with biking here - people ride casually & without a rush. I only saw a handful of hardcore cyclists with the full gear & road bikes. Is it really necessary to make it to work in 10 minutes instead of 15? I think that we need to place a focus on biking as something that everyone can & should do - not something that only the fittest & richest can accomplish.

I'll dive further into these points more as my trip continues on, but for now - it's time to switch laundry & catch a drink before heading to Copenhagen tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment