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View Poll Results: Which country of the EU do your most often cycle within...

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  • The U.K.

    8 8.25%
  • Ireland

    7 7.22%
  • Scandavia

    12 12.37%
  • Denmark

    3 3.09%
  • Germany

    12 12.37%
  • France

    11 11.34%
  • Italy

    6 6.19%
  • Spain

    3 3.09%
  • The Low Countries.

    12 12.37%
  • Other

    23 23.71%
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  1. #51
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    I only ride in Sweden (have plans for PBP, so that'll change). Riding in the Stockholm area is a mixed experience for roadies; in some parts they seem to hate us (I have gotten yelled at/honked at every time I go through some areas). It is better in the rest of the country, at least the parts where I have travelled. All trains and busses - with some exceptions - have banned bicycles onboard; putting it in a garbage bag usually works. The snow clearing during wintertime leaves a lot to be desired; the snow plower usually leaves a good inch or so of packed snow when he's done

  2. #52
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    I moved to Langenfeld (between Cologne and Duesseldof) from Raleigh, NC about a year ago and I have to say the conditions here for riding on the road are much, much better. Motorists seem to be more aware of cyclist, there are more bike lanes/greenways.

    One comment on the cyclist I see here... For the most part, they seem a lot better (with regard to edicate) road riders than what I was seeing in the US. They take the lane more often when they need to if they are a single rider (being safer sometimes) and groups of road riders make way and don't seem to use the whole lane (I saw this often in the Raleigh area). When I started road riding (about 25 years ago) I was with a team and the coach stressed that if the group is less than 10, go single file when a car approaches. If the group is over 10 ride 2 wide until they pass.

    The attitude of a lot of recreational road riders (and racers) seems to be one of entitlement, rather than cooperation (especially if they are riding in a large group).

    Maybe it is the areas I have been/am, but the cyclist seem to be more polite to autos, just as the autos are more polite to cyclist. There are bad drivers out there (don’t get me started about the scooter riders here ;-) ) and there are bad cyclists, I try to make sure I am doing my part in both worlds. Just something to think about the next time some car or bike cuts you off, swerves unexpectedly or makes you wait an extra 2 minutes.


    scoTt

  3. #53
    Senior Member javal's Avatar
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    Denmark is part of Scandinavia.
    the rider makes the bike - steel club member 198

  4. #54
    Senior Member OndrejP_SK's Avatar
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    I live in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, which is right at the border with Austria and Hungary.

    Riding in Slovakia: not very good roads, often dirty (gravel/sand) shoulder, often potholes, drivers not very respectful, but I can usually get by (hold the handlebar tightly when that truck passes 30cm from you) Bike lanes or paths along roads are virtually non-existant, so riding on roads is necessary.

    North-west of Hungary: the quality of roads is about the same, maybe marginally better, except there are plenty bike paths along main roads, so you can often avoid roads.

    East Austria (Niederoesterreich and Burgenland) is the biking paradise in my eyes: the roads are smooth, shoulders clean, the drivers are careful and pass with large radius (usually 1m or more). There are plenty of bike paths (radweg) but using them is often not necessary, because riding on roads is quite safe and roads are usually cleaner and smoother (aspect interesting for road bikes).

    Now you can guess where I ride the most

    I was on a cycling vacation in the Pyrenees in 2010 (both France and Spain) and it was an awesome experience. Good roads, careful drivers and some of the most famous Cols (mountain passes) of the cycling universe. OK, maybe the roads were a tiny bit worse than in Austria, but the drivers were just as respectful.
    Last edited by OndrejP_SK; 04-12-11 at 02:28 PM.
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  5. #55
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    Currently living in Vienna, Austria. Coming from Phoenix, AZ where i started racing/riding road bikes. This is a completely different experience. The roads and scenery here are unbelievable, especially right now during the spring. The country side is just beautiful and the road conditions are perfect. Cyclist definitely get more respect from drivers, less honking, and pass you with a significant amount of space. I was also surprised by the amount of cyclists.

    Overall, i love riding here and i hope to visit some of the surrounding countries soon.

  6. #56
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    I live and ride in Luxembourg, but on any given day it is hard not to stray into Belgium, France or Germany. Roads in Luxembourg are sublime - you can tell the exact CM when you cross into another country as the joint between the roads in Lux and in {name of country** are night and day.

    People in Lux are normally very cycle friendly - little country has the largest number of professional cyclists per capita and it is the quasi official national sport.

    Scenery is delightful, routes are a plenty, cafes/stores/petrol stations abound, and the terrain is more varied than most would think. Heck two of the best climbers in the ProTour train in Lux - it is relatively easy to put 3,000 plus HM into a days ride without clocking more than 150km.

    The only downside is the weather can be laughable but this Spring has been perfect.

  7. #57
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    I just moved to Munich from Massachusetts-- and it's wonderful!

    There seems like an infinite number of miles (oops, I mean kilometers) to ride in the area. Get 15 to 20 minutes outside the city (in some directions), and you can ride on rolling roads with a car every 30 minutes, and fields of wheat, barley, hops undulating on either side. There's the Isar river that goes through town, and has bike paths on either side for about a far as I've tried to go.

    And compared to the U.S. (also formerly from Brooklyn), the drivers are so much more in tune with the cyclists. Sure, there's the occasional jerk, but even the separated/sidewalk bike paths in the city seem safe-- drivers routinely stop before turning to look back for cyclists, as well as very slowly inch out of driveways to scan left and right.

  8. #58
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    One addendum (re Munich): I'm tickled/confused by how popular full suspension, mountain bike and downhill bikes are here right now.

    It seems like 80% of the new bikes sold are heavy, heavy duty off road bikes. But you ALWAYS see them on the road, or at most on packed gravel paths with almost no grade going through the woods (the sort that post zero hassle on my road bike with 25mm tires). You see middle aged folks, with biking globes, helmets, and all kinds of serious look peddling like maniacs, their HUGE knobby tires buzzing from 100 meters away with all that resistance/friction, looking very serious! And one can tell that they haven't seen mud, a knobby root in the path, or the sort of downhill that would allow coasting and brakes in the lifetime of the bike.

  9. #59
    Je pose, donc je suis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by luxroadie View Post
    I live and ride in Luxembourg, but on any given day it is hard not to stray into Belgium, France or Germany.
    I rode across Luxembourg once. It looks so much smaller on a map. ;-)

    It was fantastic, except that the bike routes weren't very well signed (and my map had a very generous definition of 'road'). I love the geography, though. Ride in a river valley, go up over a plateau, and down into the next valley. Lather, rinse, repeat.


  10. #60
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    I have never been anywhere other than the UK to cycle but find plenty of challenging routes that keep my interest.

    The road conditions in the UK are generally very poor due to the lack of upkeep and weather conditions etc even tho we pay huge taxes at the petrol pumps and also road taxes but most of it doesn't go back into the road system.

    I have had very few incidents with motorists when out on my bike. I find most give ample space to move and a lot are friendly enough to yield to me when they didn't need to.

  11. #61
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    Ring fenced taxes Marauder9 we could do with a bit of the same here.

  12. #62
    Manouche
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    What about The Netherlands and Belgium? Two cycling countrys.

  13. #63
    Junior Member ParisBuckeye's Avatar
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    I live in Paris, so all of my riding (so far) has been around Paris, with a bit of riding down in Le Drome, which I love. One of my riding friends spends half the year in the US and complains about aggressive drivers in the US and how friendly (for the most part) drivers are with cyclists here in France. Since the Velib program started in Paris, cars are much more aware of cyclists so they're generally fine as well. For the most part, suburbans drivers or drivers from other parts of the country panic when they come into Paris and are the most dangerous/aggressive drivers. Most of the "75" drivers, including taxis, are pretty good about giving plenty of room to cyclists. Le Vallée de Chevreuse (southwest of Paris) is full of cyclists on the weekend and very pleasant with plenty of rolling hills.

  14. #64
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Old thread but what the heck...

    I cycle in the UK on the basis that's where I live. In London some drivers can be aggressive but I'd imagine you get that in any big city. Out of town I've found most drivers are patient - you get the odd jackass who insists on squeezing past only to turn left barely 100 yards later and the odd White Van Man who truly seems to think that if he drives a little bit closer you'll suddenly find the strength to outsprint Mark Cavendish so you can save him a few precious seconds.

    Cycling provision ranges from being good to being present but useless (e.g. trees in the middle of the cyclepath, and a "shared use" path that's badly broken and not wide enough for a cyclist to pass a pedestrian safely) to being completely absent.

  15. #65
    Manouche
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    Living in Leuven, in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, where cycling is very popular. For both - commuting or sport biking, thousands of cyclist are on the road every day.
    For commuting in the urbanized areas a network of cycletracks are available (except for Brussels, the hell for bikers)
    In my own town cyclist have taken over the power.
    For sport biking in Flanders there are thousands of cycling tracks on small roads - considering this part of Belgium is very urbanized. These cycle roads are pointed out with special road signs wich you can program and customise on your computer or GPS. (www.fietsnet.be)
    Even if most parts of Flanders is flat, some regions are very demanding. (Heuvelland, Hageland, De Vlaamse Ardennen, …)
    For the better stuf in sport cycling you go to the French speaking part of Belgium in the south. (Wallonie) Especially the Ardennes are the decor of great cycling races. In this part of the country there are not much special cycle tracks on traffic roads.
    In general - like The Netherlands, Flanders has a very high biking culture and automobilists are mostly bike friendly.
    Cycling is the national sport and every weekend hundreds of local races are organized for amateurs and professionals.
    Even knowing that Belgium is very urbanised, also hundreds of mountainbikestracks are designed and maintained for amateurs or die hards. You will be surpised.
    And with The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France nearby, your bike fun will never stop on the country borders..
    You will always find cycling clubs who take you for a spin on the Mont Ventoux for the weekend. Be prepared!
    Last edited by Manouche; 12-12-11 at 05:03 AM. Reason: correction

  16. #66
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    I live in Paris now, so most of my riding lately has been in France, mostly in Île-de-France. I'll be back in the UK next summer before relocating to the US in autumn 2012. I did a tour in the Netherlands this past summer, and when I went to Switzerland in October, for a meeting outside Basel, I took my bike on the train from Paris and then cycled the 26 km each way to my meeting site. Next spring I'll do some touring, possibly in Languedoc, and I'm thinking of doing one or two 200K brevets too depending on my training time and work schedule.

    Like ParisBuckeye, I find that French drivers are pretty attentive to cyclists. The motor-scooter and motorcycle riders, on the other hand.... And a lot of Parisian cyclists are also unpredictable and irritating themselves!

  17. #67
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    I live in the UK, so that's where most of the cycling takes place. Yeah, bad weather conditions are a must, of course. Never really had any problems with drivers, since I live in a small town. bike paths next to the street could be more abundant, but that's what I have the forest for

    Apart from that I'm gonna try out Nantes in the summer and see how the cycling is there.
    Last year we went to Germany and toured the Elbe Valley. There are a lot of biking paths and you can go right next to the river and over hills. The view of the Sandstone Mountains was great!

  18. #68
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    +1 for Poland (first +1 I believe? )
    Bicycle lanes can be found 99% in cities, sometimes they reach nearest towns and villages but not very often. Also inside city centers this bicycle lanes are not connecting and generally commuting inside cities can be hell.
    Outside there are only roads. This generally are of mixed condition but rather of lower standard. New and smooth ones are recently mainly highways and other, where cycling is forbidden. To summarize, riding can sometimes be demanding and heavy on your wrists, but generally is fine for me. Oh! Drivers mainly leave enough space for me, I was only honked on once (guy even leaned out of window and yelled something, scary...) but beware of trucks. These do not slow down or give space for no one.
    I've had once a chance of touring in Czech Republic near PL-CZ border and roads were generally smoother.

  19. #69
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    UK resident. Generally motorists here give you room but have no concept how bad the roads are becoming in places through neglect, so you have to be careful not too leave it late before avoiding potholes. Have cycled in 24 countries and the only time a driver has deliberately tried to run me off the road he was driving a 3/4 size purpose-built Greyhound bus RV - towing a Jeep. In rural Oregon, of all places! Even the logging truck drivers in Oregon would try to give me room when they could. When they couldn't, I got off the road whilst they went past. Better safe than sorry.

    We have plenty of quiet back roads here, but some very steep hills too. Luckily, the shops and cafes say open all day so unlike siesta-loving Mediterranean countries, there's usually somewhere open to get food.
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  20. #70
    Je pose, donc je suis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnandme View Post
    The view of the Sandstone Mountains was great!



  21. #71
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    I ride in Greece. The big roads are dangerous, the drivers ok, they 're learning after the bicycle boom of recent years. Except the fact that roads are dangerous most of the times I love everything about cycling here. Thousands of Mountains (for different tastes) and wonderful hidden villages wait for you in every corner. Depending on mood I choose roads allong the coast or crossing the mainland climbing hills and mountains. Weather is rarely bad and most of the times the sun is shining.

    My only experience with cycling across was in Denmark. GREAT experience full of relaxing rolling, safety and crazy beautiful blondie girls. I loved it. But no sun or mountains

  22. #72
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Living/stationed here in Stuttgart, Germany. Loving how the Europeans are always cycling! I'm planning my first touring trip this summer around the Bodensee, then maybe try the Romantic Road tour.

  23. #73
    Senior Member clayton c's Avatar
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    Another American living in Germany. Right now I am in a little town north of Frankfurt though we intend to move to Lutherstadt Wittenburg soon. Originally from New Mexico, I find the paths and roads very nice and find auto drivers very cycle aware. Though I didn't bring much clothes I did bring a fully loaded touring bike and I've managed to get in a few small rides every week. I am really loving it !

  24. #74
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    Thank you very much Juha for all the work you put into your response.. Finland is one of the parts of the EU we've yet to explore.. The two lake districts look very appealing.. We might even get to Scandinavia this coming September.. If Ryan air does not have a terribly restrictive policy towards bikes .
    I'm going to split hairs here a little bit with Finland being part of Scandinavia. Geographically speaking, it's part of the general Scandinavian land mass. But culturally, ethnically, and especially linguistically, it's not. Finns (as well as Estonians and Hungarians) have their ethnic roots in central Asia, and their languages are Finno-Ugric, not Indo-European. I used to get corrected on this all the time by my Finnish wife.

    It's worth visiting. Especially the lake country. My wife's family is from Alajarvi (my keyboard doesn't support umlauts, so I can't spell it correctly). It's a great cycling location. The roads are in very good repair, and the drivers we encountered were very courteous. No real climbs, though. All rolling hills.

  25. #75
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    When I visited Finland (Yllas) in February, I would have needed something special to ride instead of get around by sliding on skis.

    Still riding in Munich. Still loving it. Though I did get my first ticket (€15, paid in cash on the spot) for riding through a 200m section of pedestrian only zone at roughly 3kph. It was one of our bi-annual crackdowns where they position ~10 police officers in hard-to-see spots about 20m into the zone; other riders were being fined at roughly 2/minute. On the other hand, it was nice to see a couple police officers writing a ticket for one of the countless delivery people who think the separated bike lane (up at sidewalk height) is made for their temporary parking convenience.

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