Thursday, 4 October 2007

East Germany: better bike lanes than Brussels area

This summer, I bought a Flevobike Greenmachine recumbent bike. Marvelous piece of technology. First long distance ride: 450 km to CCC, mostly in former East Germany.

For the last few days, I've been experimenting with commuting to work by bike. Here's a short comparison of the biking experience between (ex-)GDR and the wider Brussels area (higher score == better experience):

bike lane present: GDR 1 - Brussels area 0
bike lane ends in obstacle (tree, pedestrian lane, other): GDR 1- Brussels area 0
cars parked in bike lanes: GDR 1 - Brussels area 0
cars in bike zone at traffic lights: GDR 1 - Brussels area 0
"tuxracer" potholes and bumps: GDR 1 - Brussels area 0
bored youngster in front waving (fake?) gun at you: GDR 1 - Brussels area 0
absolutely unneeded traffic lights: GDR 1 - Brussels area 0
friendly people smiling at recumbent: GDR 1 - Brussels area 1

Overall rating: GDR 8 - Brussels 1

Still, an enjoyable experience, and faster than you think. Leuven-Brussels, door to door, less than an hour for a geek without any real training.

9 comments:

stuphi said...

How many miles is that? I cycle to work here in Portsmouth, UK, and it takes me about 47 minutes on the way in, and 53 home again. That is just over 11 miles. I have been doing that three times a week all summer, and I have not yet got any faster. I am wondering if I will be any faster on a bike like yours.

Mark Van den Borre said...

Stuphi,

Distance between my place in Leuven and Grote Markt/Grand Place in Brussels is about 26.9 km (16.77 medieval units :-p).

You can expect to ride some 5km (3.1 miles) per hour faster on a decent recumbent, with the same or less energy spent. This should increase with practice, because one uses different muscles on a recumbent.

You get the maximum benefit when you can use long, flat or slightly descending roads.

Be aware that many recumbents do require somewhat more maintenance, the flevobike greenmachine being an exception that actually requires much less maintenance.

florisla said...

Sexy bike!

Bram said...

till Zaventem there is a nice alternative to the Brusselsesteenweg next to to railway. Unfortunately starting from Zaventem there is neither a cycle path on the Brusselsesteenweg nor next to the railway and it becomes rather adventurous :)

Indeed very nice bike but a little bit too expensive for my budget.

Anonymous said...

Do you really have to talk about a "GDR" in 2007?

Nathan dbb said...

I find that most recumbent bikes are too low to the ground for use in traffic. I do like the comfort and speed. The RANDS company has made "Crank Forward" bikes that are good for commuting.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/02/70174

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0sgUjhCF6U

Roshan George said...

What an interesting bike! Does your neck ever ache for having to look up from that position? Can you see well?

Pretty cool idea.

bathmate said...

it's a very interesting posting. i liked it. :-)


bathmate

motormanwillie said...

I like that bike,interesting bike.It has speed and mobility,it seems it has a motor on it?Same as my Vespa Scooter i bought long time ago,through their web vespa verhuur I need it everytime i worked. Excellent Blog!