23 February 2009

The Bikes and Cyclists of Sevilla

My mate Martin has sent us this little cyclo-reportage from a visit to Sevilla, in southern Spain. He has previously posted about Japan.

Though not officially a bicycle built for two, the Sevici offers lots of opportunities for innovative riding configurations.

A late-winter visit to Seville in southern Spain surprised me, in all its bikealiciousness. You may know Seville for its gorgeous, gravity-defying bridge, the Puente del Alamillo, built for Expo '92 by Santiago Calatrava. But I'm guessing that we'll soon recognise the Andalucian capital as a great biking city as well.

A new tram line - the city's first - through the city centre, lots of pedestrianised streets and a Metro system (though its completion is delayed) all tell me that the city mothers and fathers have seen the bike light.

The Sevici system, a JCDecaux arrangement already introduced in Paris, Lyon etc has got underway and the inner city streets are full of young and somewhat older people making good use of their 30 minutes of free riding time. (The next hour costs €1 and each hour after that €2.) You'll find some 2500 Sevicis and 250 parking stations around the central city. Read more in Spanish or English at www.sevici.es

Just onto the Triana side of the Puente de Isabel II my photographer spotted these rather sturdy looking bike racks and a lovely red Orbea, a vintage Spanish brand.

Here at Plaza Nueva the Sevicis stand ready, in an orderly fashion opposite a row of bikes owned the old-fashioned way.

And here's hoping to a prompt return to Seville. Just to check the biking situation, of course!