Riding Different Bicycle Cultures

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A cloud of brown dust circles around the crowded streets in Indonesia. Cobbled, flat streets smoothly travel through picturesque towns in the Netherlands. In Southampton, traffic lights stop the wobbly roads running towards University. Different traffic scenarios, but bikes are used in all of them. The Wessex Scene compares different international bicycle cultures.

Created after the car invention, bicycles today outnumber cars by two. The bicycle is in many cities one of the main devices for transportation. It is, undisputed, popular, yet its frequency and style of usage differ from city to city.

Take, for example, Copenhagen. As a flat and spacious city, over 55 percent of the city centre population bike every day. According to Copenhagenize.com, that is equivalent to 500,000 Copenhageners. To celebrate Copenhagen’s love for bicycles, the short film WE LOVE BIKES, portraying a man hugging people on bikes, was produced this year. Is the bicycle addiction an accepted medical condition?

27 percent of Amsterdam bikers admit that they flirt while cycling.

It seems impossible, but Amsterdam surpasses Copenhagen in bicycle love. Known as the Bike Capital of the World, when asked, 27 percent of Amsterdam bikers admit that they flirt while cycling. Virgin Vacations reveals that 40 percent of transportation in Amsterdam involves bicycles. The Amsterdam Ramp Park at the Centraal Station can hold over 7,000 bicycles, allowing travellers to switch to trains.

The bicycle culture in Asia is somewhat different. Still a mean of transport, the bicycle comes in different shapes to protect travellers from the heat. The cycle rickshaw is a good example. Similar to the tourist bicycles in London, these bikes have a roof, protecting the cyclist from sunburns and overheat. They can also transport several people at the same time. Asian traffic is another difference that should not be forgotten. Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are, in comparison to Western European traffic, drowning in chaos. It might be a good idea to think through the big questions of life and death before turning your bicycle onto the road.

Turning back home to England, the cycling culture has had a recent upswing.

The 10th of June saw the World Naked Bike Ride, with 143 cyclists, biking down the streets, revealing not only their love for cycling but also their private parts.

There are stations with bicycles dotted around London, enabling a stressed Londoner, or a keen tourist, to hire a bike for cheap money.Southampton has also encouraged her population to cycle. The 10th of June saw the World Naked Bike Ride, with 143 cyclists, biking down the streets, revealing not only their love for cycling but also their private parts. The Southampton City Council furthermore emphasises the benefits from cycling, mention among other things the factors of health, pollution reduction and stress relief.

The bicycle culture is a whole new world to step into. Economy, fitness and time saving are good causes for buying the new family member, but we students know the real deal; instead of relying on public infrastructure, when we cycle, we have our destiny in our own hands. Cycling is spelt freedom. With a capital F.

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