Bikes Only

Bikes Only

Stuttgart gets a bad press from German cyclists: It could be far better, but at least there is an understanding that cyclists want to get somewhere, not pootle about looking at the sights. On my recent trip to the tax office, I was able to follow segregated bike only or bike/pedestrian shared use lanes most of the way, and only on one occasion was I stuck on a busy road. Many of the minor roads are either one way for cars, but two ways for bikes, or closed to vehicles but allow bikes through, like this one in Degerloch which runs through a large sports centre. I can usually get where I want to go and hardly deal with cars, but I need to have a good look at a map first, which is a pain.

Path in the forest

But here’s my question: Should cyclists push for this route to be paved? On one hand, it isn’t obviously a bike path, so many people don’t know it’s there- I only found it when one of the boys got caught short and had to go and take a pee in the woods. On the other hand it’s a very nice surface to ride on, and let’s face it, this fits into the forest better than a belt of tarmac would. A lot of the cycle routes around here are like this: well signposted and either unpaved but with a good surface or paved roads that are closed to cars, but they take a bit of finding. If they were all consistently surfaced, possibly with a few decent crossings put in place, and publicised a bit more clearly, then we’d have a lot more people using them, but on the other hand, why pave even more of the countryside?

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