Monday, October 4, 2010

Biking in Milan

We arrived in Milan by train at night and decided we would walk around a bit to see what the city was up too after dark. What a pleasant surprise when we turned the first corner from our hotel and saw a long bike sharing rack from BikeMi. BikeMi is Milan's successful bike sharing program. They currently have 103 stations and over 1500 bikes. To rent a bike there you simply go online or call a hot-line to get a subscription number and check a bike out. The first 30 minutes are free, it is only $.50 every 30 minutes after that, and you can return the bike to any station that you like. I saw tons of people on these bikes and it makes it a no brainer to use this system for short commutes.

The next morning in the daylight, we could see the bike culture in action. The city had several on street bike lanes, streets reserved for transit, scooters, and bikes only, and bike racks everywhere. The automobile traffic gave the cyclists plenty of right of way and bikes were riding anywhere they wanted.

Milan was a pleasant mix of modern and historic architecture and styles. The people there seemed to live harmoniously with their transportation systems. They literally had streets with light rail, buses, taxis, automobiles, scooters, bikes, and pedestrians all sharing the same space. It was nice to see a place where people just did what they had to do to get somewhere and didn't seem to think that their particular group had more right to be on the road than the other.





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