In defense of bicycles, that unwelcome vehicle

Some of the best memories of my life are linked to a bicycle. When I was a kid that little blue Orbea made me fly through the park of Mondoñedo, and in my adolescence the GAC road bike that I still have took me through half of Asturias.
Fifteen years ago I arrived in Madrid with the GAC under my arm, a few days later I decided to go down the service road of the Paseo de la Castellana, at the traffic lights motorists looked at me as if I were an alien and kept wondering what the hell I was doing there.

Five years ago I dreamed of a bike and was lucky enough to find Aimar Fraga to make it happen,

Since then I have enjoyed as much as I did in the park of Mondoñedo or crossing Asturias. Little by little, during these last years I have stopped being alone on the bike, more and more people are cycling, but above all, there are more and more people using the bike as a means of transport.
More than two centuries ago, the first bicycles were designed to give them a military advantage, then came their recreational use, and a century and a half ago their design was revolutionized by adding pedals and chain to something very similar to what we use today. It was then when it exploded as a means of transportation, it was healthy, efficient and quite affordable, until in the second half of the last century the car made us lazy, sedentary and consumerist.

Today the bicycle is persecuted in Spain.

It is considered a vehicle non grato because it does not pay excise or circulation taxes, and it is also surprisingly cheap. That is why they have put a fee of 3€ to ride it on a regional train, and it is also the reason to force the use of helmets in the city, something that does not happen in European cities that could give us lessons on this.
I use my bike every day, always wearing a helmet and I never ride it on the train, so I am not suspected of defending my positions. Three years ago I broke my nasal septum when I dodged a driver who had jumped a traffic light, and I was wearing a helmet; but I have continued to use my bike and helmet every day. I still believe that all these things are obstacles that hinder the use of bicycles.

Bicycle lanes in Spain today are intended for recreational purposes and not for transportation.

Moreover, as they have been designed by people who do not ride bicycles, some of them have impossible curves or go through acceleration zones at highway junctions.
In Copenhagen they are clear, the bike saves 270 million euros to their health system and that must be reinvested in promoting its use. Here, unfortunately, we are weighed down by the fact that bicycles are outside the law and the tax system. In Central Europe it rains more, it is colder and it gets dark much earlier than here; even so they are healthier, cleaner and happier thanks to riding a bike every day from home to work.


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One response to "In defense of bicycles, that unwelcome vehicle”

  1. [...] his blog, Javier Cuervo makes a nostalgic defense of the bike. With the fond memories it brings back from his childhood, he cannot understand how it is a [...]

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