Police escort or not, the bike will beat you there

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bicycle and p[olice tape near the European Parliament.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Police tape and the insidious bicycle.

Part of living in Brussels, with any part of your wheel near the European Parliament, you will have experienced the presence of EU dignitaries, bureaucrats, visiting statesmen and the like. They zoom past with five or six motorcycle cops clearing a path in front of them. They are immune to traffic queues, lights and other technical issues that plague mere mortals.

Not that it helps them. They are still so very, very slow.

I was out yesterday, riding up Avenue Louise, about one kilometre from the European Parliament. It is also the approximate location of my bank – my destination.

The sirens started quickly and we were all obliged to cede way to the flotilla. Police bikes at the head, all traffic diverted, stopped, postponed.  They disappeared into their distance, a line of black supercars, chauffeur-driven and polished to a sheen.

I turned right and rolled gently along the bicycle/pedestrian path, coasted up the hill slipping easily past walking obstructions, dodged the construction vehicles making any fast passage impossible. Off the bike and locked it up at the bike stand, all encased in police tape (why?!?!?!?) as if it were forbidden to use the space opposite my bank.

And then the flotilla arrived.

I mean.. they are really slow. I was barely trying.

I am just wondering what kind of country would have a different approach to getting places. Where dignitaries and members of state, royal family, might ride a bike and slip past the trappings of their illusion.

But then, I would have to be in Denmark. Or Norway. Sweden, of course. Places where royal family members actually ride bikes on the streets. Places where politicians might actually discover their use of excess is not understood as their importance, but as their willing to indulge in waste.

Now, break out your Bob Dylan CD and start playing “The times, they are a changing”.


A little post-script: I was wondering when I have ever been beaten to a location by anything resembling a non-emergency vehicle and I have one memory. I was in Oslo, Norway, walking an inebriated friend home when she fell and cut her head. If you have ever done even the smallest cut to your scalp, you know the blood flows. It looked like the final minutes of Carrie in about 30 seconds.

She had a small cut, but the blood was flowing and her panic was building. A taxi stopped and we got her inside and en route to hospital

immediately. I was supposed to follow the taxi down the hill to the hospital. OK… I had to work to stay with this driver. There was some speed involved.

Many thanks to him and, one stitch later, she was on her way home. We retrieved her bike from the blood-stained pavement and all was well with the world.

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