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.
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
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 …
… 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 …