On the move

Was just bicycling home in heavy snowfall.

What a fun. Snow. Fresh air. Independent. Invincible.

Was thinking about how much “positive vibes” I have gotten from bicycling throughout the past 30 years of my life.

My conclusion: Definitely better than the typical Austrian’s “daily beer”.  Moreover: No hangover.

I was already age 35 when I seriously started considering to start bicycling as a lifestyle.

Apparently, it is never too late.

I got into bicycling as a counter reaction to the all too “idiotic use of cars” I have experienced in the US; after returning to Austria, I have found that this behavior was copied over here, too.

Thus: You can learn about Austria while being abroad.

Being a bicyclist, you are by nature forced to defend yourself against some of the fellow auto-mobilists who think that you are a nuisance.

As a result of this, I was one of the first wearers of bicycle helmets in Graz — if not the first one. Moreover, I also had a nice little mirror attached to my helmet to notice the attitude of car drivers approaching from behind early on. Both gadgets I imported from the US in the late 1980s. With my mirror-equipped helmet I became a rather known figure: the “have-you-seen-this-weird-bicyclist.” I enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, in 2018, I can see many fellow bicyclists in Austria not caring about their head at all. Ignorant. Too stupid. I pity them. Sorry. Wrong choice.

During the 30 years of wearing a bicycle helmet I have made use of the helmet at least 3 times, i.e. once every 10 years on average: The helmet bewared me from severe head damage, maybe even brain damage.

I am not counting the numerous incidents of falling with my mountain bike on some off-road track. I am just talking of hitting the Graz asphalt with my head.

Just now I am planning to make a bicycle tour to North Cape. With helmet. And tent. And all the other paraphernalia.

I am also giving away for free some of my books about bicycling:

– Radtouren im Tessin
– Radtouren in Südtirol
– Mit dem Rad zu Kultur & Natur (Burgenland, Westungarn, Südoststeiermark)
– Südost-Frankreich per Rad
– Schweiz per Rad
– Mit dem Mountainbike auf den Spuren der Inkas
– Stadtradeln. Kleine Philosophie der Passionen
– The big race across America
– Auf nach Asien
– Rad-Abenteuer Welt (Band 1 und Band 2)
– Tibets wilder Osten
– Westcoast-Story
– Bike-Abenteuer Afrika
– Das Europa-Bike-Buch

Here is the trick: You get a book by (1) proving to me that you usually wear a bike helmet, and (2) you are not coming too late.

Recently, in “Kleine Zeitung” they asked whether it should be forbidden to bicycle on Graz roads upon snow conditions. After all, bicyclists are hindering the automobilists who have it urgent.

Last weekend I spent in Stockholm. It was also snowing. I told a friend about this weird question. Here was her answer:

(1) In Jämtland, this is a province in northern Sweden, they first clean the roads. As long as the other “traffic areas” (for pedestrians, for bicyclists) are not clean, all traffic participants use the road. In the presence of pedestrians, the cars “just go slow”.

(2) In Stockholm, they first start cleaning the pedestrian areas. Only later, the streets get cleaned. Thus, car drivers are not treated as “first class citizens” in city traffic. Moreover, bicyclists usually queue in front of cars on intersections. This also indicates a clear priority.

By the way: Did you know that Johann Theurl, a retired vice rector of TU Graz and former member of IAIK, was the first to paint bicycle shapes on streets in Graz? He started with what is now known as “Fahrradweg”.

Move on. You have not been moving for too long.

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One thought on “On the move

  1. Martin Schnr

    The reason for the controversy between cyclists and car drivers is the lake of bike lanes. There are too few rules where to go and where not.

    In Sweden, it is not prohibited to ride a bike under influence of alcohol, which is not only dangerous but also super stupid. Although I love Sweden, I would not claim that they are having a more responsible treatment for cyclists as we do.

    I think Denmark is a good idol. Copenhagen wants to get rid of cars in their inner city in the next few years and they have real dedicated bike lanes for their citizens.

    Reply

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