This morning I went on my second bike ride in about 20 years, and it was glorious. The lovely O gave me a brand new (well, new to me) bike for Christmas and I’m slowly getting into the swing of it. My first ride was slightly stressful. I didn’t go well with all the walkers. What were they doing taking up all the path!? Didn’t they know that bikers have right of way!? (It’s amazing what kind of monsters come out when you’re a novice rider.)
Anyway, today I set out at five am to avoid as many people as possible, and to get my bike confidence up without killing anyone. It worked, I’m very relieved to say. I rode along the path by the ocean and I didn’t feel the urge to run over any pedestrians at all. Brilliant. I want to ride a lot more often. I do have a slight case of Bikeway Envy though. Recently I came across a bit of town planning waffle that referred to The Copenhagen System and–being a fan of all things Nordic–I thought “That sounds Wonderful”.
Basically, Copenhagen is a model city for biking. According to the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre (in another work of gushing praise for the Copenhagen System), 37% of everyone working or studying in Copenhagen commutes by bike. Nice. Of course, they’ve got it all set up for cyclists, which is why I’m so envious! Their site says: “…cyclists are physically separated from cars and pedestrians on a raised cycle track 2.5 meters wide. A median with a distinctive paving texture serves as a door swing zone, protecting both cyclists and passengers from potential accidents.” How good is that?
Where I live, you’re definitely taking your life into your hands if you ride on the road, riding on footpaths is apparently illegal, and the “bike tracks” are also walking tracks, which makes for a fair bit of ducking, weaving and ferocious bell-ringing. Ah, how lovely it would be to ride along in a lane all of your own! Until Australia adopts the Copenhagen System, I’ll just have to build my bike confidence wherever I can, and I’m sure in the process I’ll find some good scenic paths to ride on. And next time I travel to Scandinavia, a glorious bike ride in the country is definitely on the agenda (see first pic in this post). As I first set out on my ride this morning, I felt those tingly butterflies in my stomach that only come when you’re SO excited about something, you know you’re about to giggle. Riding a bike is certainly one of life’s most amazing simple pleasures. x