Civilian Cycling

bike at the cathedral

There is much chat among cycle campaigners about ‘citizen’ or ‘civilian’ cyclists – those people who are just using their bikes to get around, generally in their ordinary clothes, looking relaxed and happy, rather than (as Mikael Colville Anderson described the average London cyclist) as if they were being hunted down by dogs.*

I even try and fulfil this role myself, adjusted for the Scottish weather and my general inability to put together an outfit that by any stretch of the imagination could be described as ‘chic’. Maintaining a relaxed and happy mien is sometimes possible as long as I stick to the rural back roads and Bigtown’s somewhat patchy off-road network, but there’s always a point here or there where I have to take my life into my own hands, assume everyone is out to kill me and generally gird myself for battle before taking on the traffic.

In Seville, despite a complete lack of wayfinding so we were lost more often than we were found (for some reason my companions allowed me to navigate) this never happened once. Seville’s comprehensive cycle network meant we could just cycle around like civilians, if not actually like the Sevillanos themselves, who can generally be seen cycling along no handed, rolling a cigarette, perhaps with a pal perched in the front basket of their hire bike.

map of knowledge

The marked up map from the bike hire company which not only described the main cycle routes, but also flagged up the best tapas places.

There has already been much digital ink spilled on our Seville cycle trip, which had its own hashtag (yes, we are aware there are only four of us), a storify, and a rather more serious dissection of what makes it work as a cycling city despite there being many things which were less than ideal about its cycling infrastructure. So I don’t have much more to add here, except to show you my holiday snaps, some of which are actually a bit holidayish, albeit with perhaps a little more emphasis on bikes and urban design than is strictly conventional

sightseeing by bike

smiley bollard

shady bike lane

flamenco by bike

shady square.

Oh, and the food was incredible, the Sevillians use their oranges to make wine not marmalade, which is a massive improvement, the flamenco was pretty damn amazing …

passion for tea

… and the Spanish even manage to make an acceptable (I’m told) cup of tea.

* indeed, I think this may be in the draft Tory manifesto …

4 Responses to Civilian Cycling

  1. ballsofwool says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. Though, I think you’ll agree, such a great city it’d be hard not to.

  2. […] poster child for quick urban cycle way development has already spawned a Storify, two different blogs and a proper article so I really don’t need to elaborate further. My only contribution to […]

  3. […] than last weekend’s flying visit to America: the gang that brought you #5GoMad in Amsterdam, Seville and, er, Enfield are now heading west for the Five Ferries – something that is variously […]

  4. […] Amsterdam, Seville, Enfield and our five ferries adventure, the four musketeers will be riding again as we prepare for […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: