Traveling with your bike and…

Intermodality is a concept in which a combination of two or more ways of transport are used to go from point A to B. When one of the ways of transport is a bicycle it is important to be aware of how the other way of transport works, specific legislation and so on.

Today, I offer some information if you want to use your bike and:

– Plane: All the plane companies allow you to bring your bike, but it greatly depends on the internal policy regarding aspects like size, packaging or cost. Some companies define bicycles as “special” luggage, whereas others refer it as “sports equipment”. Anyway, read the plane company internal policy. One point to take into account is that your bike will travel in the hold and you need to dismantle it and use flanges to form a unique object. Then, put it inside a cardboard or plastic box. When you arrive to your destination, your bike will not appear on general conveyor belts, rather you will find it on separate ones. As it comes to ebikes, batteries above 100 Wh are considered dangerous goods, so you should send them separately or hire an ebike at your destination.

– Train: Hopefully in your country the situation is different than in Spain. Here, groups of cyclists complaint about all the difficulties they have when combining bike plus train not only at stations, but also when it comes to train carriages. In AVE, Alvia, Intercity Euromed and Avant trains, bikes must be inside a bag or box which the sum of height, width and fund should be 180 cm or less to be considered hand luggage. Otherwise, it is regarded as special luggage and has not overpass 120x90x40 cm. The AVLO trains follow the 180 cm rule, while the Ouigo trains allow your bicycle if it weights less than 30 kg and the object is as much as 120x90x40 cm. The biker pays extra money for the bike in both cases.

– Bus: There are a myriad of bus companies in Spain and some allow you to bring your bike by free whereas others demand you to pay up to 15€. In all cases the bicycle is packed with maximum measure being 120x90x40 cm.

Juan Dual

Juan Dual is the kind of person who stops at nothing to enjoy life. He lost his stomach, colon, rectum and gall bladder due to a genetic disease which made him more prone to suffer from cancer. Whereas some people can become depressed under so devastating health changes, he took advantage of biking and humor to overcome problems. Indeed, he has a tattoo in his right forearm with the following message: Do not give much thought to things, rather do them.

After successfully being physically cured, he needed to cure his head. Everybody goes through tough issues and sometimes we forget the most important: We only have one life and must enjoy it. A simple and powerful idea. His bicycle helped him to avoid pessimism. The most difficult moment was when he started pedaling after all the surgery. Relatives and friends told him not to do sport sometimes because of fear or ignorance, or simply because love, but he disregarded them. Today he reckons that did the right thing and has rode mainly on Latin American countries and Spain.

As it comes to great trips, he follows the three days rule. He gives away everything he has not used in the first three days of route as a way to avoid overweight. Moreover, he recommends consulting everything about your desired great trip before starting it and do not be afraid asking locals for information.

Bikebus

It is said that bikebuses started in Brussels, Belgium, in 1998. But what is a bikebus? It is a secure and organized way to go to school by bicycle. It travels the neighborhood and makes stops in previously determined spots in order to allow bikers to sum to the bikebus, similarly as buses do. At the start there are only a few bikers, but the more pedaling and stops, the more riders. Thus, a pack of cyclists arrives at school. Participants share experiences, learn existence, increase their social skills and improve road safety knowledge while pedaling. Additionally, they start the day with extra energy. As it comes to the city, it is more quiet, secure and clean. Regarding children, a bikebus contributes to make independent, healthy and caring adults.

In Spain, bikebuses started more than a decade ago, but the boom was in Vic in 2020 when the teacher and mother Helena Villardel plus the associations Canvis en Cadena and Osona amb Bici agreed to create one. It was replicated in Barcelona almost instantly where they recorded a 11 seconds video and uploaded to Twitter. It was shared around the world and soon TV channels showed it. As a result, eleven bikebuses ran on Barcelona with more than 700 people every Friday in 2022.

Today, you can find bikebuses in Vienna, London, Melbourne, Washington, San Francisco, Mexico, Vancouver, Brooklyn, Bombay, Portland, Glasgow, Philadelphia, Santiago de Chile and Galway to name a few. To create a bikebus is needed to have five or six families who support a new one, determine the route and start pedaling. At the beginning, it will be a small bikebus, but the more children see it, the bigger bikebus. Parents will join it when their children want it. This is very important if the route crosses avenues and your city is dominated by cars. Adults block perpendicular streets as in the Critical Mass and police may help to do this task.

As Francesco Tonucci wrote in his book The city of children: If there are children playing in streets, it means the city is healthy. If not, it is ill”

Importance of lights

Bicycle lights are essential components when riding at night and under low-visibility conditions. They are compulsory in most cities. It sounds logical, but there are still bikers who do not use them nowadays. This is an unnecessary endangered situation in order to avoid crashes not only with cars, but also with pedestrians, pets and street furniture.

Some people say that there are two types of lights: To see, and others to see you. The first kind usually produces low light and other actors in street detects you when you are close. Moreover, it is difficult to identify bumps on the street. On the other hand, the second type of lights is able to illuminate the street and people spot you sometimes from distances above one hundred meters.

Public institutions carry on specific campaigns to promote the use of lights when riding a bike from time to time. Surprisingly, you can find street dispensers in which you can buy bicycle lights in Amsterdam. In another Netherlander city, the Hague, a parade with illuminated bikes is organized every year. Since you can imagine, it is a party at the beginning of November. Take into account that the dusk is at about 4 pm there. The organizers of De Haagse Fietslichtjesparade proposed it say hello to Winter and gathered 150 bikers from 4 to 88 years. The ride takes place on rich and poor neighborhoods and includes a special stop in order to drink hot chocolate to fight against cold.