I am fortunate to have a job that occasionally takes me to interesting destinations. As I rode through the park last weekend with my dude, pondering a car-free lifestyle, it reminded me of the few weeks that I had spent in Zurich, Switzerland last summer.
At the time, I was severely regretting not utilizing Belle’s S&S couplers and bringing her along for the trip. One night, I was walking along Bahnhofstrasse… (from Wikipedia):
Zurich‘s main downtown street and one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues.
…and turned an alleyway to find this trailer full of bicycles.
Not knowing German, I assumed that it was a bike rental place. I went inside and essentially asked “how much?” Apparently, I had run into Zuri Rollt, Zurich’s FREE bike sharing program. All I had to do was show them my ID and give them 20 CHF (Swiss Francs), which would be returned to me when I returned the bicycle.
I utilized this service and rode all over Zurich without a helmet. For the first time in my life, I felt perfectly safe among the cars and streetcars and didn’t feel like I even needed a helmet. It was honestly one of the best and most liberating experiences of my life.
Zurich, by far, is the most livable city that I have ever encountered, with an incredibly efficient and widespread public transportation system that welcomes bicycles with open arms.
Bicycles, therefore, are no strangers to this town. I was surprised to find that most people locked their bikes up with flimsy cable locks. Should I ever bring her here, my Belle would certainly feel very safe in this city.
Bicycles are even used as decor!
Initiatives, such as Zurich Multimobil, promote bicycling as an alternative means of transportation, and with actual governmental officials as role models. This particular initiative had a ton of publicity, as I noticed posters all over the place.
I may never find my car-free city, but for me, Zurich’s bike friendliness (among other wonderful characteristics, namely: chocolate, cheese, and clockwork) confirms that this is the ideal place for me to live.