If you come from either Copenhagen or Amsterdam, you get your first bike latest within your first year on earth. What we call a running bike (scooter). When you are about 4-5 years old, you would normally ride a bike on your own without any support.
But it´s not just something you do Saturday afternoon as a family in an area like the skatepark or so. No, we use it for getting somewhere. We use it for transport. So the kids from very little know the rules in the traffic, they know they can drive on the bike lanes, and they know they have to pay attention.
Now the rest of the world or a least Spain has not yet developed any bike lanes. Well, to be fair they have a few, very bad ones. And the funny part is — you go on a bike lane in Spain, and then it suddenly stops like they ran out of money or something. Yo can stand there with you bike and safe helmet and with your ‘que pasa’ gestures, but nobody cares. The next lane you can find 2 km down the road if you are willing to risk your life, on your way getting there.
And you are risking your life, because people in Spain are not used to have bikers in the city´s or pueblo´s as we are in Denmark. So they do not pay attention to you. They just open their doors, without looking if anyone is coming on a bike. And bam you are on the road flying over another car. I have tried it several times.
We came to Spain when my daughter was just 2 years old. She could not yet ride a proper bike, which she off course can now, but she lacks the practice in the traffic because here you drive in your car everywhere. And as I said no bike lanes.
Last weekend I convinced my husband, and kids to cycle down through the orange groves and down to the beach for some practice. It ended up being fatal.
Yes, fatal in that way that my daughter ended up getting walked into and pushed of her bike, lets put it nicely, by an elderly fat man, so she fell and cried. The man who did it, did not even pay attention to her but keep on walking. My husband then made sure with a little push that he now payed attention to him, which made the man so angry that he started to hit my husband all over the place, while our daughter was lying crying on the side walk.
My husband did of course not hit him back because he is clever, and know not to fight (also he is a really strong Scandinavian guy, who would have send him to hospital), but this guy was so angry and did not even say I am sorry. I am sorry that I did not see the girl (my daughter) on the bike, but just felt, I assume, it was his right to push her because she was on the sidewalk?
So fatal in that way, that it´s so difficult to teach your kids how to ride safe in the traffic, if people around you are not paying attention. If people think it´s their right to push small girls on their bikes and afterwards getting into an argument with their father’s.
I would love to have bike lanes, for more than just a 100 meters at a time, without sudden stops, so we could both teach our kids to ride a bike but also to safe the environment. Not to mention how on earth I can raise a new Contador if I can´t practice with them.