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Riding in a foreign country?
#1
Have you ever ridden in a foreign country? What differences did you notice about the cycling culture or the car driver's attitude towards people on bikes? I'd love to hear about your experiences in far off places....
My YouTube channel about life and riding bikes in Ecuador: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC53LAQO8WH782Tjr_N8WPOg
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#2
When you read this forum, you realize a large proportion of people on this forum are in North America. Some ask questions like, 'Where are the best places to ride?' A large proportion of answers suggest places in North America.

To really find interesting places to ride, get on a plane, and travel to a place which is totally different from your home country. When cycling, you are normally going slow enough to see much more than when traveling by car or bus, and it is easier meet local people.

I know, some people have commitments at home, and not everybody has the financial resources to travel. But for those who can, it can be a lot of fun. Some may plan to travel in the future.
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#3
Wink 
(01-24-2023, 10:15 AM)Jason in Ecuador Wrote:  Have you ever ridden in a foreign country? What differences did you notice about the cycling culture or the car driver's attitude towards people on bikes? I'd love to hear about your experiences in far off places....

Cycling in Dubai isn't the best thing to do. People aren't used to the cycling culture and it was rare to spot another cyclist. The roads stretch for miles which is a good thing and bad, it gets boring as you pedal for 10 minutes and the terrain is the same. There were a few good cycling tracks which were more popular with cyclists than I thought. The weather too is a stick up the ... But anyway, an experience is an experience. Big Grin
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#4
Riding in Spain was really fun/safe as most of the roads had shoulders. But I was forced to lift my thumb (for a lift) within an hour/two of crossing into Portugal. No shoulders and didn't feel safe at all. And, this was on a road that the tourism department folks recommended for cyclist.

In India, I wanted to ride on scenic, rural roads but remembered that roads have no median (painted or a cement ones) and folks generally (mostly) don't obey rules. So, I took less scenic but safer option of freeway. Freeway had a clean shoulder that was used exclusively by motorcyclists and I felt safe. Didn't enjoy the scenery or the noise of heavy traffic though..:-(
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#5
(01-24-2023, 10:15 AM)Jason in Ecuador Wrote:  Have you ever ridden in a foreign country? What differences did you notice about the cycling culture or the car driver's attitude towards people on bikes? I'd love to hear about your experiences in far off places....

cycling culture and attitudes towards people on bikes can vary greatly between different countries.

In some countries, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, cycling is a widely accepted and integral part of daily life, with extensive infrastructure and a culture that prioritizes the safety and comfort of cyclists. In these countries, it is common to see large numbers of people of all ages and abilities riding bikes, and drivers are generally aware of and respectful of cyclists on the road.

In other countries, such as the United States and many developing countries, cycling infrastructure is less developed and attitudes towards cycling may be less positive. In these areas, it may be more challenging for cyclists to navigate the roads and drivers may be less aware of and less respectful of cyclists.

However, in recent years, many cities around the world have begun to invest in new cycling infrastructure and promote cycling as a viable form of transportation, which can be seen as a positive shift in attitude and culture towards cycling.
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#6
Riding in the UK generally sucks, big time, unless you can avoid roads. There is SUCH a bad attitude among most drivers in the UK at the moment. The bad attitude is compounded by ignorance of the rules of the road, a very bad 'us vs them' attitude and a generally thuggish attitude to self-importance among drivers.

Having said that, the two times I've come closest to bad accidents while cycling, both were caused by other cyclists who passed me too close, too fast and without announcing their approach.

Still, on the roads here, you have to have 360-degree vision, watch out for cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, e-scooters, pedestrians, dogs.

And then, when you go off-road on paths/trails, in some places you can run into traps set by crazy idiots. I'm not joking.
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#7
Wow, these are some great responses. Thanks everyone! Yes, the difference between a developed country and a place like the US where there is active hostility toward people on bikes is pretty amazing. Here in Ecuador it's like I'm totally invisible and have absolutely no rights at all. Drivers just do whatever they want in town here. It's crazy! But hey, at least they don't actively hate me, they just don't see me. Back in Minneapolis I was regularly yelled at and threatened by super-angry drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about that here in Ecuador. I just have to expect the cars to act like they don't see me.
My YouTube channel about life and riding bikes in Ecuador: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC53LAQO8WH782Tjr_N8WPOg
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#8
(01-28-2023, 07:50 PM)Jason in Ecuador Wrote:  The difference between a developed country and a place like the US where there is active hostility toward people on bikes is pretty amazing. Here in Ecuador it's like I'm totally invisible and have absolutely no rights at all. Drivers just do whatever they want in town here. It's crazy! But hey, at least they don't actively hate me, they just don't see me. Back in Minneapolis I was regularly yelled at and threatened by super-angry drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about that here in Ecuador. I just have to expect the cars to act like they don't see me.

In countries where drivers just do whatever they want, there are a huge number of people injured or killed in road accidents. You are better off being yelled at, than injured or killed.

In all countries, it is smart to take a sensible approach to remain safe. For example, ride on the sidewalk where it is realistic, and take routes with less traffic.
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#9
I love riding in Japan, there are lots of cyclist that comute there and drivers are very careful to give you room when you are riding. Many women have their young children on the bicycle in plastic chairs mounted in the front or rear sometimes there are 2 children on the bicycle.
https://www.tokyobybike.com/2009/06/introducing-mamachari.html

I have ridden more than a few miles in the Chiba area, north of Tokyo over the years. I keep a bicycle in Japan, as I found it difficult to rent a 59cm or 60cm bicycle when I visit family.

I love that many pathways along the rivers, or back water irrigation channels have banking that has a decedicated bicycle path on the top, and it dip down under the rail and crossing roadways so you can ride for many miles without encountering an intersection. The pathways are busy in the morning with school children riding in groups on the way, and home in the afternoons, but otherwise it is spin the pedals mile after mile.

JR
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#10
I'm an American who grew up riding in NYC.

I spent three years riding in and around Augsburg Germany (1970-1973) where I first encountered the concept that bicycles were legitimately part of traffic and followed traffic laws. That took a little adjustment to my thinking but proved to certainly be a vast improvement over riding almost anywhere in the USA.

Later I rode in and around Dongducheon and occasionally Uijeongbu, Korea (1975-1976) where everything is a regular part of traffic and nothing followed traffic laws.

Then back to Germany where I rode in Helmstedt and Berlin (1981-1982).

In between each of the above, I had moved to Valley Station KY, where I rode regularly both alone and with my family for recreation.

Decades later, I hardly ride now, due to a bad ankle and hip.

Overall I prefer riding in Europe over both Asia and the US.


(01-27-2023, 06:47 AM)DelilahIris Wrote:  In other countries, such as the United States and many developing countries, cycling infrastructure is less developed and attitudes towards cycling may be less positive. In these areas, it may be more challenging for cyclists to navigate the roads and drivers may be less aware of and less respectful of cyclists.

However, in recent years, many cities around the world have begun to invest in new cycling infrastructure and promote cycling as a viable form of transportation, which can be seen as a positive shift in attitude and culture towards cycling.

I'm not a big fan of "cycling infrastructure," which I find tends to isolate cyclists and thus exacerbates the problem of motorists feeling that cyclists don't belong on public roads.

This is especially true in the USA where even the supposedly "cycling friendly" local governments feel a need to designate specific roadways where motorists are told to tolerate cyclists.

   
   
   
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