Blog - I got a bike!

Added on Friday, 2010-04-02 20:00 CEST in category Moscow
One of the very typical Dutch things I've been missing in Moscow is cycling. Russia just isn't a cycling country. Cyclists are seen as idiots with a deathwish when they go on the streets (it's not uncommon to drive 70-80km/h within city limits), and as scary horrors when they go on the sidewalks. Bicycle lanes don't exist, of course.

But I don't let any of that scare me :) Today I drove to the Google office, 6km from home, to feel what that'd be like. "Different" is the best word I think. In the Netherlands, that'd be a fifteen minute ride. Here it took me 40…

First there's the hills. Moscow is built on seven hills, and that's noticeable :) Then there's the quality of the roads, not too great. I also constantly have to evade pedestrians. They don't have the first clue what the sound of a bicycle bell actually is, or what it's for.

So that's not really helping. There are also a lot of underground passages for pedestrians, so cars and pedestrians don't have to wait for each other. Ideal for them of course, but not really handy when riding a bike.

When I do go out on the normal road, it's usually when there's a traffic jam. On a bike you can usually slip through, but with the typical "me first!" attitude, I do always have to be careful.

So then why do I do it? It's in my blood, I suppose :) Besides, it still beats going on foot by a long shot, and I don't really have to stick to any traffic rules. The police seriously don't care if I go on the sidewalk or on the normal road, even against traffic, crossing the grass or whatever. And finally, all these small challenges make it kinda fun :)