Cycling and Walkability in Bruges World Heritage City - A Photo Essay
Bruges, the ancient mediaeval town near Flanders fields in Belgium, is a city best cycled or walked around.
The authorities have made it easy by providing plenty of signage, bicycle lanes, and even free public bicycle pumps (see below).
It's easy to hire bikes and even to cycle to the city along cycle tracks constructed alongside the railway lines, or bring a bike to the city by train.
Of course it helps that Belgium is a flat country.
You'll find people of all ages cycling.
I'm here on a brief visit for the first time.
I realise that with two million visitors the city gets each year, and with a 700 year old street plan, the authorities don't have much choice but to encourage cycling and walking.
They do it by prioritising these modes in zones and at certain times of day.
Everybody who lives here, almost, rides a bike. There is a culture of it.
You can see from the aerial photo below taken from the top of the bell tower (366 steps high - I counted them) - that there are more bikes than vehicles on the streets.
And people ride all kinds of bicycles.
I saw a man carrying two children on his bike, one on the front and another on the rear.
You can hire bikes easily and cheaply in many hire shops dotted around.
We hired bikes and cycled on the lanes around the canal that encircles the city and goes past the old windmills. There is a bridge which rises and lowers to permit either canal traffic or cyclists and pedestrians.
I love going to cities and cycling round them.
There are so many bikes many people don't bother to lock them when they are parked, even though the city encourages you to do so with signs.
No wonder other cities in Belgium emulate Bruges. It is a city to which others come to learn about prioritising cycling and walking in their own urban areas.
David is Special Consultant of this website. He's author of Energy Management in Buildings, Energy Management in Industry, Sustainable Transport Fuels, Solar Technology, Sustainable Home Refurbishment, Solar Photovoltaics Business Briefing, and much more. His new book, The One Planet Life, is due out in November. He's also a novelist, script and comics writer, journalist, and editor. He was ...