Like much of life itself, international travel is not a spontaneous event. It require more planning (and, preparation for the unexpected) than one might like.
Despite challenges with the TSA Gestapo in Atlanta (too annoying to document in this Blog), we arrived in Munich with our bikes two days before the official start of the tour.
A chance to adjust to a 6 hour time zone switch, and time to be visitors in a new city. We have been astonished to discover that the subway system is well documented even for those of us who are “German-speaking challenged.”
And, from the perspective of a tourist, the approach to urban design for bicycle inclusion is marvelous. Tiled pedestrian sidewalks abut bicycle paths of asphalt and the only challenge is for pedestrians to remember to stay in their lane. Greenspace is everywhere, and even the banks of the River Izar through the city are unadorned by restaurants or other obstructions to the beauty of nature.
Our hotel overlooking Nymphenburger Strasse showed an awareness that bicycles are not considered “vehicles” in the sense of the USA. They rarely share traffic zones with motor vehicles, but are part of the human-powered lane of traffic. Consequently, the zones / lanes are as follows:
- Moving out from the edge of buildings is a zone for vegetation and outdoor seating. The enables gardens, trees, and cafés to flourish.
- Next is the lane for pedestrian traffic. People still walk in Europe! We might call this a “sidewalk.”
- The next lane is for bikes. Really, an extension of the sidewalk. That makes it clear that the “Walk / Do Not Walk” signs refer to the human-powered zone.
- The next line is another zone for vegetation: both for aesthetics and for a reminder that motor vehicles are beyond the people zone.
- Next is a lane for parking. (Perhaps more separation for safety.)
- Finally, a lane for cars, buses, and delivery vehicles. (In wide areas, two lanes.)
- Lastly, before reversing the pattern toward the other side of the street, is a set of tracks for the trolley.
Complex, by US standards, but a design that speaks to a multi-modal aesthetic that is practical.