"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike."
Do you know who said this line? John F. Kennedy did. You, too, can enjoy this simple pleasure without even owning a bike. For a few years now, bicycle sharing schemes are popping up like mushrooms: more than 200 all over the world, according to the New Zealand Herald. Their aim is to make bicycling available for the masses at a reasonable price. This is intended as a contribution to "soft mobility" and as a complement to public transport. You can just go to one of the stations of the network and grab a bike whenever you need one. You pay for the time you use the bike and you don't have to worry about maintenance and repair. A study on Bicing, the sharing scheme in Barcelona, has even shown that "[as] a result of physical activity, 12.46 deaths were avoided [and] annual carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by an estimated 9 062 344 kg."
Still remember the last Car-free Sunday in Brussels? That great atmosphere made you wish for more? Look at this video to find out how Colombian capital Bogotá has struck a balance between allowing for car-free fun and not preventing car drivers from using their vehicle. Brussels-Capital, are you listening? Ciclovía is the word!
Monthly eco-challenge: Start biking!
Fix that bike of yours and oil it, because the season just asks for it!
No more excuses, only advantages for taking that bike forward! Check out www.bicycle.irisnet.be and www.fridaybikeday.be to find all the good reasons to bike!
And have a look at our website under transport and holiday to find the perfect tools, maps, travel itineraries, and accessories to make you feel good!
Choose your options: to bike daily to work or school, to select all distances below 6km (or more for the brave ones) or to dedicate at least one day per week to a biking tour to start with!
Billing itself as the ‘car drivers detox center’ (le centre de désintoxication pour automobilistes), Cyclo has been promoting cycling in all sorts of clever ways for over 10 years now. Not only do they rebuild used bikes into better-than new condition, they also help equip the unemployed with skills that get them back into the workforce. Workers rotate in a 3-year program that starts with them working alongside a professional mechanic rebuilding bikes and has them finish by managing the shop, sales and all.
When I first moved to Brussels three years ago, I used to commute by bike across the Place Flagey to Avenue Louise. Every morning I would pass a woman heading in the other direction, wobbly and uncertain on her brand new mountain bike, helmet firmly fastened, reflective vests and lights all over, a look of terror in her eyes as if she was being forced to swing dance in a mine field. I realized in watching her, just how intimidating biking in Brussels can be. But trust me, it can be done! With some simple guidelines, biking in Brussels can become such a safe, efficient, and pleasant way to get around the city that you’ll never move any other way – and that’s to say nothing of all the pollution you’ll save by doing it.
But where? How about just about anywhere! Belgium has some of the best networks for cycling in the world, offering paved, accessible, well-signed and maintained routes throughout the country. Yes, throughout the country! Cycling is one of the few true Belgian national values, though of course, even in this regard there are some regional differences to get to know.
One of the things which can be mystifying for a foreigner biking in Belgium is figuring out the network of routes which tour around Brussels. There’s the Groene Gordel, and the Groene Wandeling/Le Promenade Vert, and then the other Gordel that seems to get everyone up in arms every September – what gives? Here's a quick summary.