Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Barcelona and bikes

Last week I escaped the office and joined a couple of friends in Barcelona. The trip was about getting time with two wonderful people who live in California and, as a result, I only see them every year or two.  And what a great meeting place ! They were 3 beautifully warm and sunny days, 24 degrees from dawn till dusk. I got sunburnt (not great health wise I know but it served as a reminder that great weather exists somewhere) The hotels were great, the food amazing, the beer hit the spot and the laughter came thick and fast. I explored the work of Gaudi and wandered the streets of the old city. I was also surrounded by 2 wheels !

There was such a chilled out attitude to travelling by bike. ATGATT (all the gear all the time) goes only as far as helmets ! Its regular jeans and t-shirts, or suits as they head to the office. I recall seeing one  proper bike jacket the whole trip. After a while it becomes normal and I could imagine myself just leaping on a bike in my regular clothes.

Two young women were on a scooter, the pillion texting as they shot through the traffic, I wish I’d got a photo! Although the majority were scooters, there was also a huge array motorbikes; every shape, size, make. Triumph Rockets nestled in amongst battered scooters, men in suits commuted on Harleys and left them next to battered 125s. or enormous 1200 GSs. If there wasn’t room to park on the road they parked on the pavement. If they had to ride down the pavement to reach a spot , that was fine! No pedestrians kicked off!

There was an interesting campaign about motorcycle injuries - 21 a day in Barcelona. To be honest I think this is pretty good going (not that any accidents are acceptable) bearing in mind the lack of protection, and that they ride like lunatics! I'm surprised the figure isn't much higher. I really like this campaign though, the free standing 'bikes' were dotted about around the city, in amongst other bikes so they weren't immediately obvious - which actually made them more powerful in an odd way.

I have no idea what the attitude of other road users is to bikers – excluding the cold facts of the safety campaign (probably as bad as every where else) but as a bystander, stood in 24 degrees, it certainly looked like a great city (& region) to explore on a bike.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, 21 a day is a high number. Like you said it must be the population of riders, how they drive, lack of gear and maybe lack of training combined with packed roadways.

    Otherwise Barcelona sounds like fun though.