Street Cruisading

Posted: 1 August, 2011 in Street Life
Tags: , , , ,

To bicycle is probably the best way to get to know a new environment. Like walking but with an ability to cover much more ground. However it doesn’t come without risk, at least not in central Warsaw where cycling yet has to gain status of a popular movement. It’s still a thing for the few. And the daring! Trams, busses and cars galore rule the city streets, the speed is high and the drivers don’t show too much consideration. The few scattered pedalists live/exist mercifully on the fringe often crowding the pavement along with pedestrians (so no-no in Sweden!). That is, the remaining part of the pavement that is not occupied with diagonally parked cars… Cycle paths are but rare, far in between and short. (A hint to The Warsaw city planning commission: invest in a study visit to Stockholm or better still, Copenhagen)

However the traffic only makes up part of the challenge. The streets (and the pavements) themselves are an endurance for both butt and tires; cracked or occasionally badly patched asphalt, potholes, dissolving cobble, paving stones on the loose – indeed, there are a lot of things to be on the look-out (and look-down) for.

Nonetheless, no room for fear, time to live a little on the edge, Warsaw style! Thus I’ve bought myself an iron horse (weighing approx. 15 kg) equipped with balloon tires which I ride with pride.

PS. Last Friday was the last Friday of the month, a day that gathers all the cyclists of Warsaw (or at least a large number of them) for the monthly manifestation to changing the capital into a more bike-friendly city. Warsaw Critical Mass (Warszawska Masa Krytyczna) is the biggest event of its kind in Europe!

More than 2 000 cyclists of all ages, bicycle types and varying attire showed up on Plac Zamkowy, The Castle Square, to take part in the 30 km long “parade of human-powered vehicles”. A rare occasion for the two wheelers for but a little while rule the streets normally de-facto reserved by the motorized.

Needless to say this Friday I was one of this mass(ive) street spinning party in motion for a desirable cause!

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