Sunday, 25 October 2009

Edinburgh (II): on two wheels

Edinburgh - like London - is becoming a cyclists' city. More cycle lanes are appearing, and they are being used, though, I suspect, like Oxford and Cambridge, it's the city's student population that provides the bulk of the two-wheeled, human-powered traffic.

Cycle lanes are mainly a painted-on afterthought which can be parked on by cars with ease (left).

The city is home to the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative - a radical - and successful - business model for our cash-strapped, environmentally aware times.

Below: A cycle courier takes a break from competing with Royal Mail by reading a few pages of Freddie Ayer. Note: No derailleur gear, but a three-speed hub and a rear brake, so no fixed wheeler. Edinburgh's generally too hilly for fixed gear bikes. (Walking the half-mile from London's Oxford Street to Tottenham Court Road, I counted no fewer than eight of them!)

Left: At the other end of the trendiness spectrum is the youth fashion for little BMX bikes with the saddle dropped down into the frame; the British hoodies' wheels of choice for hanging around shopping centres. This bike is less for transportation than for doing stunts. (But you won't get it nicked at school because you can always hide it in your pencil case.)

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