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hard core …

December 14, 2010

… that’s what I would call this. ‘Normal’ is what Germans would call this.

I snapped this picture last winter in Munich while I was out on a run (as I’ve mentioned before, I took my camera with me on several runs last winter to capture the beautiful winter scenery). This was by no means a novelty, my mail was delivered daily by bike even once winter came. It was something that amazed and delighted me – seeing how people in a cycling friendly society adapted to the different seasons and continued to use the different types of transportation that seemed normal and routine to them all year long. Cycling in many European countries is not seasonal or weather dependent. It’s just a way of getting around. And just like we make adjustments to our cars in the winter, one makes adjustments to one’s bike and clothing, and then carries on.

I’m going to try to remember this as the roads get snowier here, the temperatures colder, and more and more people look at me like I’m crazy for still hopping on my bike for the short commute I make to campus each day.

Ride on, German mail delivery person, and I’ll ride on here as well!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Janni permalink
    December 14, 2010 13:16

    Das ist nur so, weil Deutschland ein armes, rückständiges Land und die Deutsche Post nicht in der Lage ist, ihre Zusteller mit vernünftigen Fahrzeugen auszustatten. Deshalb sieht man solche Situationen, die man auch vor 75 Jahren so hätte fotografieren können… ;-)

    Der Postbote findet das wahrscheinlich überhaupt nicht lustig und flucht bei solch einem Wetter auf seinen Job! Er wartet auf den Fortschritt und ein umweltfreundlich elektrisches Zustellfahrzeug.

    • Maria permalink
      December 14, 2010 16:37

      Dieses Gerücht kann ich nach aktuellen Aussagen meines Postboten bestätigen. ;o)

      Mal im Ernst, bei diesen (oder auch den derzeitigen) Wetterverhältnissen ist es echt Wahnsinn, dass so viele Zusteller noch mit dem Rad unterwegs sind – es wundert mich echt, dass da nicht mehr passiert…oder man hört einfach nichts davon.

      Other than that, I do agree that biking is not a matter of season, yet I prefer my choice to use a bike to campus or wherever to be voluntary. And if there’s too much snow, in our crowded area walking is a valid alternative.

  2. Bettina permalink
    December 14, 2010 13:35

    I love these guys :)!
    I’ve actually been thinking about this and it occurred to me that funnily enough, Europeans in less bike-prone climates (i.e. Northern Europe) are actually more bike-friendly than Southern Europeans. I’m German and for me it’s the most normal thing to ride my bike absolutely everywhere. My boyfriend is from Spain and there cycling is considered a sport, not a medium of transport. Many people especially in the Basque Country, where he’s from, have road bikes that they get out on the weekends to go on hard core cycling trips. But hardly anyone uses a bike as a means for getting from A to B in their daily lives. Now we live in Germany and he cycles to work every day, proudly grinning, and says it feels “really German” to do that.

  3. December 14, 2010 13:37

    That’s a great picture. I’ll try to keep that in mind, too, although it would be nice if Chicago took more care when plowing (or not plowing) the bike lanes and I also wish cars were a little further away and drove slower. Wa-waah.

  4. kateohkatie permalink
    December 14, 2010 13:55

    This is just the motivation I needed this morning – thank you! :-)

  5. December 14, 2010 14:41

    I agree with Bettina. In Catalonia we have a very nice weather but people leaves their bikes inside at the first drop of rain or at the first cold day…

  6. December 14, 2010 16:43

    This is starting to become more and more normal in Portland – we definitely do have a reduction in people riding when it starts raining, but not nearly as much as we used to.

    This morning we had sheets of rain falling (like 1-2 inches in a day type rain), plus 30mph winds (with gusts above that, I’m pretty sure). I had my poncho on, and there were a few times I almost had to get off and walk, because I almost couldn’t pedal forward due to the wind. I stopped at a light with a couple of other people on bikes, and we were commiserating about the nice weather :)

    When I arrived at work, there were definitely fewer people who rode compared to a nice, sunny day, but not much of a reduction in people who rode compared to a mild, drizzly day, which is encouraging. Here’s hoping the trend continues!

  7. December 14, 2010 23:45

    The company I work for (roughly 400 employees) there’s only a small group of us, six (6), that actually commute to work on our bikes during nice weather. Out of those six, there’s only one person (me) that commuted in/thru Oct/Nov. Having a conversation w/one of those employees we discussed our fears about commuting in the cold & snow. The biggest thing preventing us – is not so much the weather, but what others will think of us (other employees and the cars that travel on our route). I know it’s sad, but true. Being that the co-worker and I both originate from European countries – we discussed how normal this would be in our countries. So, Kudos to you – for not giving a damn what other people think and we will look to you for inspiration.

  8. December 15, 2010 13:47

    Nice to see a photo from Germany.
    I think it should be noted that – unlike “normal” bike riders – the postmen are slowly riding on the sidewalk (at least in my town), because they have to stop at nearly every door anyway. Everyone here has to clear and grit the sidewalk in front of their house, so it isn’t really that difficult to ride there. But it’s not allowed for other cyclists, of course. :)

    Nico

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