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Have you ever ridden your bike in Luxembourg-city? In this article I’ll try to dispel fears and myths about urban cycling, and show that moving through the city by bicycle in fact has more advantages than driving a car.

Cycling vs driving: why bicycle?

Most of us are used to cars and even don’t consider bicycle as a mean of transport. However, when you start riding in the city, you discover how perfectly it suits urban conditions. To begin with, you never have problems with parking. You don’t need petrol. You don’t depend on traffic jams; at the same time you can take your bike into public transport when you’re in a hurry. Once you learned cycling paths separated from main roads, you can move through the city pretty fast. Lastly, several km ridden in the morning will give you energy for the whole day.

So, what stops people from starting urban cycling, apart from the habit to take a car?

Myth 1: Bikes are so expensive!

In the shops you can find very expensive ones. But you don’t need a professional bike! Used bike in good condition will be enough at the beginning. On luxbazar.lu you can see many offers starting from 50 euros. Don’t worry whether you’re choosing a right model – just try and afterwards you can easily sell it and buy another one. As an option, you can rent a bike, e.g. at Velo’h.

 

Myth 2: I don’t have time to cycle the whole way.

You don’t have to. You can combine commuting by bike with public transport. Trains have special bike wagons, usually the last one on the opposite side from the machine. Buses also have space in the middle. It’s allowed to take public transport with bike.

Myth 3: It will take ages to get there by bike!

In the city, where cars cannot gain high speed due to street lights, bikes can successfully compete with other vehicles. For instance, with an average speed of 10km/h it takes 6 min to get from Hamilius to Gare Central (3-4 min by bus) and 30 min from Kirchberg to the Gare (around 20 min by bus with all its stops). You can check how long you need to get to your office/school, and find the best way to combine cycling and public transport.    

Myth 4: I will be tired when I arrive

The more you ride, the better becomes your physical form. And you’ll improve it quite soon! Start from 1-2km, not every day, and in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to do the entire way by bike without problems!

Myth 5: I cannot ride bike in office clothes or skirt

Yes we can! Your clothes won’t become dirty if you ride carefully avoiding puddles. Skirt and high-heels are also not an issue. Depends on the model of the skirt, of course, but normally underwear is not visible when you’re on bike. Shoes with high-heels have enough flat surfaces for pedals. You need to try and check in which clothes you feel comfortable on your bike.

 

Myth 6: I can ride bike only in summer

There’s no bad weather, there’s only bad cloth. Lots of cyclists ride in any weather, and even in winter. If it rains – put on a rain coat (in HEMA shop you can get a good one for 2 euros). If it’s cold – put on more clothes, double gloves and double socks. Upon arrival you can take off extra ones. One thing: when you start riding, your body heats up very quickly, and in 5 min you don’t feel that cold any more. Hard to believe when you’ve just left a warm building, but it’s true) The most “freezing” parts of the body are hands and nose. Put on scarf, two pairs of gloves - and the problem is solved!

Myth 7: I can park only in special bike racks

You can leave your bike wherever as long as other vehicles and pedestrians have enough space to pass. If there’s no special parking nearby, you can lock your bike to fence or to streetlight post.

Myth 8: It’s dangerous to cycle together with cars

At the very beginning, if you’re not used to cycling in the city, you will feel unsafe. But the more you ride, the more experience you gain and day by day you’ll start feeling more and more confident on the road. According to the law, bicycle is considered as a mean of transport. You can cycle on the right side of the road, even if there’s no bike lane. Don’t listen to the drivers who say “go to the pavement!” - they are wrong. Finally, drivers are not stupid, nobody doesn’t want to go to jail for killing a cyclist, remember it!

If you’re still not sure, you can try cycling in a group. In Luxembourg we have a cycling community called Cycle Luxembourg. Take part in one of the bike rides regularly organized in the city and outside. Come for a workshop and learn how to repair and maintain your bicycle in good condition. The last Friday of every month there’s a group city bike ride called Critical Mass. Cyclists gather at 18:30 near Gelle Fra and then pedal in the city-centre at leisure pace. The route is always random and takes about 1h. The Critical Mass rides are aimed to show that we, cyclists, also have rights on the road. We don’t block the traffic – we ARE the traffic. Moving in the middle of the group, you don’t risk. Furthermore, chatting with other cyclists, you can learn a lot about riding bike in the city and make new friends.

Myth 9: What if my bike is broken?

Usually everything that happens with bike can be fixed quite easily. It takes several minutes to glue a flat tire, seconds – to fix a lost chain. If you don’t know how to do it - visit a bike shop, or ask somebody. Once you join cycling community, you’ll get to know keen-cyclists and they will always help you)

What else should I know about urban cycling?

You will have to equip your bike with a bell and reflective elements on wheels (two for each wheel), as well as front and back reflectors. Flash lights are compulsory only when it’s dark or visibility on the road is less than 200m. Helmet is also optional, but it’s highly recommended to wear it. All this stuff, as well as a bike lock, you can find in big supermarkets, like Auchan and Cora, and also in HEMA. In bike shops the equipment is more expensive, but the quality is also better.

It is important to know what you’re allowed and not allowed to do on the road. Read bike-related chapter of the road code. You can also check the city map with bike paths marked - it is available in the city tourist office on Pl. Guillaume.

Conclusion

Urban cycling – it’s more than just commuting. It’s a life-style. We love our bikes, and we are always happy to help beginners with a piece of advice. I hope, now you see that riding bike in the city is not so dangerous and not difficult at all. Just try it, you won’t lose anything!

Tatiana-san


Tuesday the 21st - Bike Info Luxembourg - Hostgator Coupon