Swiss cycling culture

Warning: cycling subculture-related post coming up…

The Velominati would be horrified.  It’s not quite home, but it’s certainly just around the corner from the homes of the “cycling culture” they are purportedly inspired by.  But it seems the Zurich locals are happy to ignore just about every single item in the rulebook if it suits their mood.

To take a simple one, hairy legs. It seems that perfectly “serious” cyclists (ones who were riding past me like I was standing still on some climbs) were more than happy to do so with their hairy legs glinting in the sun.

Or gear. Perhaps it’s the need to carry wet-weather gear to cope with the rapidly changing weather, but it seemed like the majority of roadies on training rides were either carrying little backpacks, or had little racks mounted to the back of their bikes. And no, these were not the ubiquitous touring cyclists you see a lot of on the roads outside Zurich. These were roadies on Cervelos, Treks and Canyons. Incidentally, I reckon you’d just about see more BMCs on the road in Melbourne than Zurich. A fair few of the mountain bikes I saw were made by BMC, but not a lot of road bikes.

Or gearing. The mountains around here are serious. While plenty of people were riding up them – on sealed roads – on mountain bikes, even the roadies use gearing made for the conditions. 39/23? More like 34/32 or 30/27 – I certainly wasn’t the only one equipped with a triple.

Or bunches. Despite there being a steady stream of riders around Lake Zurich, there weren’t any bunches larger than three. It’s easy to see why – the combination of roads and traffic would make it difficult to ride two abreast for any length of time.

And, what do you know, despite all the rule violations they sure look like they’re having fun on their bicycles.

Wonder would it work for us too…

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