So it's been a while since my last post, what do I have to show for it? Well I've partly been a bit lazy, but also I've been doing a bit of travelling. A few weeks ago I spent a long weekend in Barcelona, so this is what I saw.
Barcelona has a successful bike share program called Bicing, it's a subscription only model which is only available to Catalan residents; apparently the reason for this was that they wanted to force tourists to use the commercial bike hire companies instead. Nonetheless, the system is somewhat similar to the Boris bikes, Velo'v etc. however it has it's own quirks. Firstly the docking station is really quite unique, it's like a long bench like thing which has pairs of wholes which a pair of prongs on the front rack of the bike slot into. The bikes themselves are a bit oddball, this is where they stand out compared to the others. Firstly the front wheel is a 20" and the rear is what appears to be a 26", the small front wheel achieves two things: a lower top tube for lower standover and mounting, and it allows the front wheel to fit under the docking bench/rack thing.
|One good thing is that they had decent dynamo|
lights which were well protected.
The odd thing though is that the small front wheel means the handlebars need to be the apehanger style to actually get the bars high enough, this along with a long wheelbase gives the bikes a somewhat odd and unique appearance. Maybe it's a theft deterrent? They'd be easily recognised. What also struck me as odd was that there wasn't much in the way of security coverings and fasteners to prevent vandalism. The front and rear brakes were conventional rim based v-brakes which I found really odd because they would be more prone to being tampered with or to getting damaged compared to the hub based brakes of other bike share bikes. I also wasn't convinced by the front basket, more like a scoop similar to the Boris bikes. Nonetheless the Bicing bike scheme is really popular with the locals.
|Nice old Dutch town bikes|
|I saw quite a lot of Bromptons|
There wasn't much in the way of bike infrastructure on the road, however most people seemed to just ride with the cars or go at a leisurely pace on the footpaths and plaças that Barcelona is so famous for; particularly in the old medieval gothic quarter the roads are too narrow for cars but are perfect for bikes. It's quite typical to see middle aged men/women, elderly, children all doing normal day to day things on bikes here.
|Your local hipster fixie shop|
I miss the sunshine already, I think I got a tan here. Now I'm back in London. Thanks for reading.