Sunday, 29 July 2007

Cycling Cologne, part 2

broken bike
Wherever you go in Cologne you will see stationary bikes. Sometimes in ordered in racks, sometimes chained to posts, or sometimes just left neglected in heaps. neglected and abused

There are actually quite a lot of bikes piled up on street corners, with bent wheels or rusting and it’s a mystery to me, as an outsider, how they end up like that. Who owns them? Did the owners just decide to leave them on the roadside one day in a case of bike abuse? Someone should start a charity…

bikes for hireHowever, I have a theory that some of these bikes may have once been part of a bike sharing scheme: Cologne has several initiatives where banks of bikes are locked up around town. You can text a bike’s number to the initiative’s HQ and they send you a code to unlock the bike and charge you a small fee. You can then ride the bike around and leave it at another bank in a different part of the city.

The people of Cologne rely on their bikes so much that you’ll see them adapted in many different ways, to suit individual needs. For example, you can buy compact three wheeled trailers which hitch up to the back of your bike for carrying small children. Or, you can go crazy and make your bike into a beer wagon, as previously discussed, for if you have a special need for beer.

Read Cycling Cologne, part 1

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