|World Bicycle Day 3rd June 2019|
World Bicycle Day 3 June 2019
Today is World Bicycle Day, a United Nations initiative to celebrate the bicycle, which is “a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation”.
The UN website says that the needs of cyclists and pedestrians (who often make up the majority of commuters in cities) continues to be overlooked, despite the many benefits of investing in safer walking and cycling infrastructure. Today is all about encouraging member states to adopt best practices, improve road safety and integrate the bicycle into their sustainable mobility and transport infrastructure, thereby promoting the bicycle among all members of society. You can read more here.
We are lucky in our little bit of rural France. The roads are not busy, there are many marked cycle routes we can follow, from short circular rides to long distance (coast to coast) touring trails. When we venture into our local towns and cities, the cycle lanes are usually a safe distance from the traffic (where possible) and give us priority, i.e. one way for cars, two way for cyclists, thus enabling a free-flowing bike route through town. We need to move away from the car being king, especially in built up areas, and I think cycle routes can only help this mind switch.
So far this year we have been lucky enough to enjoy days out on the super-cycle-friendly Ile de Ré, cycle tour from Bordeaux to Toulouse (both cities being bike friendly despite the traffic) with the route in between being mainly on traffic-free cycle paths following old railway lines or canal towpaths. We have also climbed in the Pyrenees and followed the Atlantic coast route Eurovélo 1. I set myself a challenge to cycle 2019km this year and so far, I’ve reached 1,408km, this is already twice the distance I managed last year.
This week I have cycled just over 100km, with Adrian and with friends, both local rides and a little further afield. At this time of year France is a feast for the senses with hedgerows of elderflower, cottages with scented climbing roses and fields of red poppies swaying in the almost ripened wheat, and if we are lucky a deer or two bounding away from our almost silent approach.
The Marais Poitevin, where we clocked up a warm 44km, was beautiful as always; the warmth of the sun cooled by the welcome shady areas with the river running alongside. The dust flying off the dry paths as we cycled alongside the small, narrow waterways with singing frogs, herons gracefully taking flight and soft-eyed cattle watching our every move, with their accompanying cattle egrets. You really do get to experience more when you are out on your bike, there is always something new to see and I never tire of getting out for a ride.
Whether you are a 5km rider or a 150km rider, I hope you were able to do something to mark World Bicycle Day. This post has been linked to the Lou Messugo #AllAboutFrance