Time to catch up with some brief cycling impressions of one of Austria’s leading cycling cities. This is a belated blog post because I was there a few weeks ago at the end of a holiday in the region but the photos have been stuck in the metaphorical blogging “outbox” due to lack of time.
Salzburg and Graz compete to be the leading cycling cities in Austria with Graz having the higher international profile because they have been regulars on the international conference and projects circuit for many years. However even a few years ago Salzburg was supposed to have a mode share of 18% which is pretty impressive by any standards.
We were there on a tourist trip to chill before heading back to Belgium so no need to hire bikes for the compact city centre area, although it was very promising to see that our hotel had a well maintained fleet of hire bikes out the front, the first I have seen at one of the Mercure chain.
As we made our way towards the city we quickly came into the pedestrianized shopping areas along Linzergasse. And surprise, surprise. A common sense, relaxed attitude to bikes and pedestrians mixing, bikes sparked all over the place with their sensible kickstands and baskets allowing them to be parked almost anywhere and be used for casual shopping. This was repeated in the old city area on the other side of the river, with the addition of pedi-cabs for the tourists and more people chilling at cafés who had just rocked up on their bikes. There was also a steady flow of cycle tourists who blended in with the general flow but were notable by their lycra and panniers.
This is almost getting boring, how many times can I actually be slightly surprised about just how easy it is to make a cycle friendly city centre when you have the right attitude and the right bikes. I guess I just think back sadly to so many of my old colleagues in the UK, both the voluntary advocates and the municipal officials who give blood, sweat and tears over cycling access to city centres only to have it kicked away by some local special interest group.
I know cyclists can be their own worst enemies at times, but that is partly reinforced by the outlier culture that means cycling is about speed and tricks. At 20% share of traffic cyclists are not outliers any more, just people. Anyway, I digress into anglo-centricity once again.
The other big feature of Salzburg cycling life that became apparent when we reached the main river Salzach was the high quality, high volume cycle routes down either side of the river. Absolutely great, and on the warm weekend that we were there both sides were flowing with a mix of leisure and utility riders of all ages and styles. There was even a group nearby that looked like they were doing the “Sound of Music” tour by bike!
Not hard to see why Salzburg is one of Austria’s premier cycling cities, one on this list for a further visit.
Finally a photo for my cargo biking colleagues and friends, a new use for the cargo bike in city services. Somebody has to clear up after the horse drawn tourist carriages and what better way to do it in a car free city centre. I am sure on his CV this job is “Vice-President Municipal Equine Cleansing” or something similar, but to the rest of us it’s the pedalling shit shoveller.
More catch up posts on Austria to come!