Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cycling in Bruges - A photo essay

 Two girls on a tandem
Bruges, the ancient mediaeval town near Flanders fields in Belgium, is a city best cycled or walked around.

The authorities have made it easy by providing plenty of signage, bicycle lanes, and even free public bicycle pumps (below).

Public bike pump

It's easy to hire bikes and even to cycle to the city along cycle tracks constructed alongside the railway lines, or bring a bike to the city by train. Of course it helps that Belgium is a flat country.

You'll find people of all ages cycling.

Cycles allowed sign

Bikes and walking have priority sign

Attention pedestrian zone sign in Flemish
My wife Helen and I visited it earlier this month for the first time. I realise that with two million visitors the city gets each year, and with a 700 year old street plan, the authorities don't have much choice but to encourage cycling and walking. They do it by prioritising these modes in zones and at certain times of day.

child riding a bike in Bruges

older man riding a bike

Couple riding a bike
Everybody who lives here, almost, rides a bike. There is a culture of it. You can see from the aerial photo below taken from the top of the bell tower (366 steps high - I counted them) - that there are more bikes than vehicles on the streets.

Aerial view of street showing more bikes than cars

Cycling in Bruges

And people ride all kinds of bicycles.

Reclining bicycle in Bruges

Tricycle in Bruges
I saw a man carrying two children on his bike, one on the front and another on the rear.

You can hire bikes easily and cheaply in many hire shops dotted around. We hired bikes and cycled on the lanes around the canal that encircles the city and goes past the old windmills. There is a bridge which rises and lowers to permit either canal traffic or cyclists and pedestrians.

Bridge of cycle and walking path over canal in raised position

Bridge of cycle and walking path over canal in lowered position

Cycle lane by windmill and canal in Bruges

I love going to cities and cycling round them.

Lock your bike sign

There are so many bikes many people don't bother to lock them when they are parked, even though the city encourages you to do so with signs like the one above.

No wonder other cities in Belgium emulate Bruges. It is a city to which others come to learn about prioritising cycling and walking in their own urban areas.

1 comment:

richard said...

This has got to be one of the greenest cities in the world. Two wheels good, four wheels bad!