Think of urban cycling on the Continent, and the first city that springs to mind is likely to be Copenhagen or Amsterdam; cities where large proportions of the population use bicycles to undertake everyday journeys, creating a streetscape far removed from Britain’s car choked city centres. But a new 20-minute film from Belgium, Brussels Express, shows that Britain isn’t alone in possessing cities where the car is still viewed as king.
Taking as its starting point the experience of Karl-Heiz Pohl, the founder of the city’s first bike courier company, the film includes brief interviews with figures including Klaus Bondam, mayor of Copenhagen from 2006 to 2010, who contrasts the experience of his home city with the very different reality he found in Brussels.
It also features local cycle campaigners and transport professionals who explain how Brussels came to be, as the film puts it, “Europe’s most congested city,” the effect of that on its inhabitants and pointers towards what can be done to change that in the future.
Beautfully shot by Sander Vandenbroucke - be sure to watch it full screen for best effect - above all it's a thought-provoking film, and one that will resonate with anyone who cycles - or perhaps even drives - in Britain's major cities.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.