alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

This is Gent

I am walking to my hotel after having had dinner. It is dark out. A girl on a bicycle clatters past me on the cobblestones with a red electric light clipped to the back of her jacket just under her neck. I round the corner, and a guy rides by. He is wearing a spelunking head lamp, and he is standing on the pedals for leverage. Sitting on his back rack is a nicely-dressed woman. She sits sideways on the rack, her ankles neatly crossed. She balances without bothering to hold on. This is Gent.

I am walking to the tram stop before work. I am passed by more bicycles than cars, although the ratio is near even. The riders are wearing business clothes, skirts, street clothes, whatever. They rattle over the stone streets, and nobody is "cycling" so much as just "pedaling". They ride like one might walk. Almost all of the bikes are upright "comfort bikes", and most of them look like they have been around for decades. A woman rides by with a child perched balancing on the bike's front rack, just over the front tire. The child is about seven, and is holding a pile of schoolbooks on her lap. This is Gent.

I am walking from the tram stop to my office. There is a complicated intersection I must navigate, which involves roads, trams, bicycles, a highway overpass, and a river. I am careful as I cross the red-bricked bike lanes to watch for bicycle traffic in the same way I watch for car traffic. There are three kinds of traffic lights at this intersection. The ones for cars have red and green circles. The ones for people have red and green images of a walking stick person. The ones for bicycles have red and green images of a bicycle. This is Gent.

Next time, I really need to request a bike.
Tags: biking, travel
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