Discovering Giant Pumpkins Whilst Riding Free Bicycles
Free bicycles and giant pumpkins sound like they should be part of some fairytale, but I have the photos to prove they exist! I discovered them both on a recent trip to visit friends in Zürich. The free bicycles via the service – Züri Rollt – a scheme that allows you to ‘borrow’ bikes for the day. You simply need to show ID and leave a 20 CHF deposit, which you get back when you bring the bike back. Easy. The giant pumpkins took a little longer to find… after exploring the city a little by bike, we decided to head out-of-town and up the river Limmat towards Baden. A nice relaxing ride, that took us through a few small towns and that is when we discovered the most amazing pumpkin farm I have ever seen.*
The Züri Rollt bikes could be picked up at a few different spots around town and were mostly housed in these old shipping containers, that had been revamped into office/bike workshops. I liked the simple, attention grabbing design for these spaces – which I spotted immediately on my first day in town.
The bikes were all very well-kept, and you could even choose from some colourful options such as tiger print! I think the scheme is great, as it allows tourists and locals alike to try out a bike in the city without a big investment from the individual. There was also the option to pay to hire an E-bike, which might be where they make the money to keep this going. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much information online about who organised the free bike scheme. However, after speaking to one of my friends from Zürich, she seemed to think it was run by the city to combat two issues: improving public transport options and giving unemployed people a place to take the first steps back into employment.**
I really enjoyed the wee bike trip, we passed lots of joggers and walkers on the dedicated cycle lanes and paths by the river and as I mentioned earlier discovered the most impressive range of pumpkins.
I always enjoy discovering a new city by bicycle; it allows you to explore a little further than you would if you were walking and to get a different sense of how the city moves. Zürich seems to move in lots of different ways, there are definitely more bikes used there as a mode of transport than I could see in any Scottish city, a lot of amazing bike shops and a good amount of cycling infrastructure.
However, there are also a lot of cars and trams so it was sometimes a little confusing at the large tramway junctions as to who has the right of way – I always opted to give it to the trams. Whenever I have seen trams in the Netherlands or Germany, they always seem to have their own space – which is very different to the space for cars/bikes – and I like this. However, in Zürich the tram line space was often also the cycling space and I found this a little claustrophobic at times.
Overall – I had a great time exploring Zürich by bike.
*I have never seen a pumpkin farm before. However, this fact does not make the ‘amazingness’ of this one any less.
** If this is not the case and you know more about it, do let me know.
Filed under: Bike Rides, Cities, Cycling | 3 Comments
Tags: 2012, baden, Bike, bike services, Bikes, cities, Cycling, free bikes, limmat, velo, zurich, zurri rollt