Spokes(Wo)Man

Scared of traffic ? No bike infrastructure ? Too Far ? Helmet hair ?

 

Fuck it, ride anyway

There's nothing I know of in Rio, but it's something to do with the night...

Yeah, I just didn't want to be like everyone else and lazily quote Peter Allen's song. Is anyone else old enough to ahem ... have studied this other famous Rio song in history class in school ?

Yes, that's where I first heard it. That's totally plausible.

Mike Nesmith, ex-Monkee, who knew eh ? Google is really going to catch on, I can just tell.

So there seems to be some sort of international sporting thingy going on in Rio, bet that's going down a treat in the Favelas.

I (and many other genial-type people) loved the giant bikes or tricycles that led out each competeing nation.

I ESPECIALLY loved that Saudi Arabia was led out by a woman, with bare arms,  on a bike (take THAT you f*ckers). If that was planned, tip o' the hat to whoever had the stones to organise it.

I didn't watch the whole opening ceremony, c'mon 3+ hours ? I felt the will to live slipping away after the 5th shot of Christ the Redeemer bathed in neon yellow spotlights. But I loved the giant quaxing tricycles, with all their... gardening equipment ... ? loaded up. Yeah, why not.

Reminds me a lot of a pair of either Edwardian or Victorian era ladies tricycles my dad once had when in his antiques and collectibles phase.

As a wee tot I so desperately wanted a go on them, but at that point I wasn't even as tall as the seats on these magnificent beasts; tall enough to allow a lady to climb up, and then sweep her bustle and train safely to the side. Amazing.

I still want one.

The other utterly brilliant thing about the 2016 Olympics is the traffic congestion. Rio is shocking at the best of times, but with crowds and tourists and additional security and road closures; the place is an absolute mare's nest (I hear).

So what did the Netherlands Olympic team officials do ?

They partnered with the Dutch Gazelle bikes company and some other Dutch company called Heineken (never heard of them), and brought 250 orange bikes to Rio, for the team and officials to use to beat the traffic.

We are crossing Rio like it’s Amsterdam,” said Sarah Langbroek, a 24-year-old native of that Dutch city, where there are more bikes than humans.

Biking alongside her, Sterre Bisschop, 22, pointed toward the gridlock in Ipanema. “Biking is the answer,” she quipped.

Citing congestion, the city’s mayor declared a municipal holiday Thursday when Olympic torch-bearers began winding their way through the city. In an attempt to get motorists off the roads, the city also launched a “special map for cyclists.”

The traffic problems present an opportunity for the Dutch, who are on the hunt for converts to the benefits of two-wheeled travel.

“Using bicycles fits our vision of sustainable Olympics,” said Arjen Uijterlinde, the Dutch consul general of Rio de Janeiro. the Netherlands has been involved in several projects to promote biking in Brazil, he said.

It is a tough sell here, where working-class Brazilians went on a car-buying binge a few years ago and a pro-cycling push has irked many drivers.

Scenic Rio boasts about 270 miles of bike paths, which authorities bill as Latin America´s most extensive urban network. But, “you won’t see a lot of bikes,” said Jan Zeldenrust, a Dutchman who started a tour company called Rio by Bike three years ago. “It’s still a subculture.”
  The King of the Netherlands and the Dutch Prime Minster; biking amongst the crowds in Rio

The King of the Netherlands and the Dutch Prime Minster; biking amongst the crowds in Rio

Bike-jacking is a problem too. Thugs mugged Australian Paralympic sailing champ Liesl Tesch at gunpoint last month at a Rio bus stop, stealing her bike.

Wherever that happens it's a low act; sadly this time it just happened to be in Rio.

 

  Netherlands athlete  Dafne Schippers   and her coach on a training session in Rio

Netherlands athlete Dafne Schippers  and her coach on a training session in Rio