A year ago, ZEITmagazine's cover story featured a far-reaching bicycle research: I was cycling through 14 major European cities to experience first-hand the progress and setbacks of urban cycling. How are things going in Nijmegen and Karlsruhe? What is changing in Paris right now? Why is it still so bad in Hamburg and Cologne? In the end I could say: Cycling is currently an issue in all major cities, caused by too many cars, too bad air and a growing number of fast e-bikes, for which conventional bike paths are too narrow and too unsafe. Everywhere is movement in the thing.
Shortly after the publication of the report, I received mail from Buchholz in the Nordheide, a Hamburg suburb: could I even present my experiences in a lecture?
When I came to the forest school on a Monday evening in September, I was amazed not bad: Since the Buchholz has bike e. V., and around 60 people had come to hear and see how they tormented themselves on the Seine by one-way streets and how they felt about the Hovenring in Eindhoven, the floating bicycle gyro that has become a tourist attraction. Cycling also seems to be a big topic in Buchholz in the North Heath.
In the animated discussion, someone suggested to me, after Ljubljana, Essen and Berlin, but also Buchholz subject to a test: Is it Rad in the small town? Obviously not as the cyclists want it.
My assumptions in advance were these: cycling is a matter of course in a small town. The distances are smaller, the car traffic does not flow in three lanes or even four lanes. TheÖPNV does not matter so much. Public space is not so expensive, so there should be more bike paths in it.
The mentality of the province stands in the way of this: At times, roads were still widened, as elsewhere the traffic was calmed down. There is a lot to follow, also because self-awareness is lacking in trying something new.