Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Politaholic is a Germanophile

Politaholic returned from holiday last week, after spendng nearly three weeks cycling in the Black Forest, and along the Danube cycle path (Donau-Radweg), with a few days in France at the end (I recommend it, but if you are thinking of cycling the Radweg an off-road bike is essential, and the Black Forest is very tough). Germany - or what I have seen of it - is very cycle-friendly. The Germans seem to like cycling as a leisure activity: all ages and shapes of people cycle, from little kids to old grandfathers, from thin sporty-types, to tubby ones (like me). There are good cycle paths, and motorists seem to respect them. If you book into a hotel they don't say: "Eh, by gum, Mavis, he's got a bicycle. There's not much call for that round here". Instead, they show you the safe place to keep your bicycle (usually a cellar in which a dozen other bicycles are also parked). Cycling is normal. The picture shows Freiburg - there are cycles everywhere, the scene is simply a fairly typical street. To return to blighty is depressing; the green paint that passes for a cycle path in Manchester (in which motorists both drive and park) simply cannot compare. Germany is light years ahead; they take it seriously. Even a quite big city like Munich is cycle-friendly. More than that, it doesn't seem to be paved with litter or full of loud-mouthed yobs, like Manchester. Why can't it be like that here? If Freiburg and Munich can do it why not Manchester? And on top of it all German lager beer is just wonderful...


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