I was lured to Seville by stories that it is like Auckland – new to the cycling game – and making impressive progress in a short time.

So far, not many cycling gems to be seen, but I’m suspending belief for now, as I’m in love with the place. It’s a sunny city of avenues planted with Seville oranges (creating refreshing shade and visual contrast to the buildings and paving), ornate buildings in beautiful condition, and clever new additions mixed with the old. Some are loved, like the Amarillo suspension bridge built for a World Expo in the early 90s.Seville Amarillo suspension bridgeSome are more contentious, like the Metropol Parasol, completed only 4 years ago after years of tussling by Arup Consultants who had to make the architect’s dream stand up. Seville Metropol ParasolI’m hiring a bike today, so will have more to report from the road. What I’ve seen so far are the public bikes, which are found in most international cities, heaps of bike hire businesses and about the same number of people that I’d see in Central Auckland tooling around on bikes.

Our top floor apartment is surrounded by narrow cobbled lanes with 3 and 4 storeyed charming apartment blocks (with wrought iron balconies, shady courtyards and ornate tiled entrances), and cafes spilling out into every patio (square) from which the laneways radiate. The squares vibrate from late afternoon with noises of chat, eating, drinking, singing, greetings and laughter.

Deliveries to the narrow streets are by bike. Anyone need meat or eggs?Seville egg and meat delivery serviceFrom what I’ve seen so far, Seville’s cycling infra is not connected in the way that I found in Paris, Berlin and Switzerland. It’s fitted in where possible, and isn’t gold plated in the way that we are building in Auckland.   Seville basic separated cyclewaySome pathways for people on bikes are hard to distinguish – Mike was nearly bowled by a man whizzing past on a folding bike along the tramway in the square by the stunning Seville Cathedral. I noticed one bikeway sign on a pole as we walked on. Unlike the other cities I’ve visited the density of people cycling is so low, that you don’t look out for them. The 9% of people reported to be tripping by bike are hard to see!

I’m mostly impressed by the courtesy of people biking and walking, and the slow speeds of the vehicles and the classy urban style of  promenading – shown here by this father and son out for lunch. Seville father and son out for a walk

There’s no disappointment to me in Seville. Mike describes it as a city that embraces you – and he’s an engineer!

It’s a city of such warmth, treasures and charm I’m happy to suspend my cycling expectations for now.

More to come – Barb C

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4 responses to “Suspending belief in Seville.

  1. We rode all over Serville in July with many more cyclists than described above and found the cycle route markings to be completely sufficient, loved the cycle metal inset dots on busy pedestrian thoroughfares which helped show riders exactly where to be on the pavement with an actual route to follow and pedestrians recognised the need to keep to their part of the walkway , the actual mini raised concrete half moon cycle barriers on busier roads to completely delineate cycle lanes from vehicles, to just a general politeness between everyone, no aggression, never felt unsafe, cyclists and pedestrians coexisted comfortably. Travelled as a family. Enjoy your trip, make sure you cycle at night its quite lovely and a different experience again.

    1. Good to get these comments Meg. I’ve now had more time to wander the streets, and get around on bike, and have seen more people on bikes. Especially on the wide promenade used by the trams past the university.
      I still believe we’d be deluging AT with complaints if the cycle symbols on the outer ring cycle route here in Seville were found in Auckland. They must have been exciting to have on day one, and are certainly great to have to avoid mingling with the traffic, but most I’ve seen are desperately in need of refreshing on green paint and cycle symbols.
      As you say, alot can be given when the drivers are polite and good natured. I am amazed after riding around Berlin where the cyclists shake their fists and rant if your inadvertently step in a cycleway. Here we are constantly receiving smiley people offering to help read the map we’re staring at or advising on which bus to catch. Totally delightful people, the Sevilleans!

      1. Don’t worry Barb, I HAVE been deluging AT with complaints about their failure to repaint the cycle advance boxes ;o) Have a wonderful time in Spain!

        1. Hi Matt – would you like to copy me into a list of where your problems spots are? Kathryn is promising a review and upgrade of poor infrastructure, so let’s help her by pointing out some of your fav bad spots!

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