Nothing proves a bike better than gridlock

┬ęBarry Sandland/TIMB - Bicycle courier w a fully laden cargo bike in front of a three hour traffic jam in Brussels.

┬ęBarry Sandland/TIMB – A state visit can bring the heart of Brussels to a lengthy standstill.

“Wow, they really made a mess this morning. I think we are the only ones smiling in this traffic.”

Notes: A state visit in Brussels is always pandemonium for the motorised population. The entire district of Schuman, European Parliament and Royal Palace becomes gridlocked – except for cyclists. While there are thousands of cars inching forward, bicycles suffer a slight inconvenience and then shoot past all the muddle on bicycle lanes, or between jammed cars. Seriously, this photo was taken at 08:30am. It was the same three hours later. It had to be four hours of hell. A wasted day. And this sort of blockage, for a variety of reasons, happens often through the year.

Then one of the local couriers for PedalBXL appeared. Fully laden, his cargo bike filled with the morning delivery. I know him, so it was easy to persuade him to take a minute for a photo.

It is on mornings like this that I truly love my bike. I used to live in this area and, on the bike, I could get to the office with minimal inconvenience – and a lot of amusement at the predicament the supposedly speedy cars had found themselves.

What does surprise me is the lack of warning given. I imagine all too many of the drivers simply followed their daily routine only to discover the dilemma when they were too close to do anything about it. There has to be a number who, with better information, would have been able to ride to work instead. Or drive so close and then take the bike from the trunk.

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