Five go mad in Seville

Our intrepid investigators check out the UK campaigner's prime case study for cycling investment.

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  1. Last year Five Go Mad in Amsterdam happened: a quartet of cycling advocates from Scotland visited a place that's famous for cycling culture.
  2. This year we went to see the home of a minor revolution in cycling: from zero (less than 1% of journeys made by bike) to hero (6% of all trips, rising to 9% for non-commuter journeys) in just five years, with relatively modest investment.
  3. How did they do it? Can the model be applied in the UK? And, most importantly, how good is the food?
  4. We didn't take our own sets of wheels, but the lovely folk at See By Bike sorted us out with bikes, baskets, a map with the cycle routes highlighted, and a handy list of bar and restaurant recommendations. Olé!
  5. We started with a brief tour of the cycle route around the city centre: a ring road for bikes. The design was often underwhelming in terms of width, surface, and sometimes priority over side roads. But by golly, it seems to work.
  6. Road space had been given over to bike lanes in some places, but in others the balance of space was still very much with the motor traffic.
  7. There were some nice touches: lots of shade - after 11am the reason became obvious - and wheelchair symbols to indicate the paths were for all those on wheels, not just bikes.
  8. The design was based on physical separation, with a wide array of bollards for us to admire. And not just for bikes: obstacles seem to be commonly used to separate pedestrians from motor traffic, so maybe it's been easy to apply this to bikes too.
  9. There were some real gems too: this route alongside the river was shady, peaceful, and uninterrupted for long stretches.
  10. We met a fellow cycle nerd to hear about the experience of living and day to day cycling in the city, and got a recommendation for a mini excursion to a nearby town.
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