A few years ago, we started to notice that city bikes were growing in popularity in Vallès Oriental. More and more people want to be able to get around their towns and cities without wasting time stuck in traffic.
But what are the advantages of city bikes and why is it important that infrastructure be improved to encourage their use?
What is a city bike?
The city bike is a perfect vehicle for riding on the streets of the city.
They are compact, lightweight and fast, making them perfect for narrow streets and the frequent roadblocks encountered in urban settings.
They’re also a great way to get around the city without having to deal with the hassles or costs associated with private parking.
They are increasingly visible and it’s not surprising: they allow you to make trips of a few kilometres without needing to be in great physical shape.
They help us save time and weave through the heavy traffic in the city.
Who promotes city bikes in Vallès Oriental?
The growth in the populations of some of the bigger villages in Vallès Oriental has resulted in traffic problems that call for innovative solutions.
Clearly, city bikes can be a solution to this problem, especially at the entrances and exits of schools at peak times.
What’s easier and more fun than picking up the kids on a bike?
A time of day that caused so many traffic jams and parking difficulties can become a magical moment for parents and children.
Not only magical but also sustainable and educational.
So, the decision to use city bikes in Vallès Oriental goes beyond sport and weekend bike rides.
When we use them as a regular means of transportation to go to work, to shop, or pick up the children from school, it means we are advocating for a change in the way we live, for a paradigm shift in our city models.
And like any other change, it poses new challenges and obstacles to overcome.
What do city bike platforms in Vallès Oriental promote?
To improve mobility conditions for city bicycle users in Vallès Oriental, citizens have created entities to encourage their use and present a more organised and coherent voice to petition the local government.
At the moment in Vallès, we have 8 such entities in towns like Granollers, la Garriga, Mollet and Cardedeu (see the link to each of them below).
As nonprofits, usually run by volunteers committed to change, these entities focus on topics such as:
- Advocating for and organising people who use city bikes.
- Interacting with the administration and presenting proposals to develop the cycling network and safeguard cyclists.
- Secure the necessary services to facilitate the use of bicycles as a regular means of transport.
- Respond to mobility and urban logistics needs such as last-mile distribution.
Here are the links to some of the active entities:
Cycling tourism as an engine of the cycling network.
In the context of the climate emergency that we are experiencing, citizen initiatives that promote sustainable development give us hope and lead the way for the rest of the population.
If we go back a little in time, we will remember that in 2019 in Vallès Oriental, the platform Connectem el Vallès en Bici was created.
It was an important moment because the European Cycling Federation was designing the section from Girona to Barcelona of the Eurovelo 8 route.
This 7,500 km route is one of the 17 routes that cross Europe and runs through the entire Mediterranean basin, from Cadiz to Athens, passing through Catalonia.
Connectem el Vallès en Bici, then, was launched by the entities that promote the use of urban bikes in Vallès Oriental, whom we have already referred to.
Its main mission was to ensure that, through joint work with the administrations, a cycle network connecting the towns of Vallès Oriental could be created and developed.
This network was to perform two functions:
- Attract the attention of the European Cycling Federation to convince them to pass the Eurovelo 8 route through the region and thereby boost sustainable tourism.
- Expand the current cycling network and provide a real sustainable mobility alternative for the local population.
In addition, if Vallès could accommodate part of this section, it would not only mean a notable increase in the arrivals of international cyclists to the region but would also be a boost for new economic initiatives related to the cycling sector.
Advantages of cycling tourism
Discovering new destinations while on a bicycle is not only a pleasure and very good for your health, it’s also good for the health of the planet.
This type of tourism connects you with nature and heritage, in a quiet and non-intrusive way, conducive to cultural exchange and personal growth both for those who practice it and for those who host it.
In addition, it’s a form of tourism that can be enjoyed throughout the year, thus helping to balance problems of seasonality and mass tourism.
Unfortunately, the European Federation of Cyclists opted for the stretch that runs through Maresme, but the wheels are in motion and the entities continue to work to connect Vallès’ cycle paths.
The future of city bikes in Vallès Oriental
To get an idea of what our cycling future will look like, we must look at the Vallès Specific Mobility Plan.
The plan was published in February 2021 and deals with non-motorised mobility, such as cycling.
Its purpose is to achieve a complete and safe cycle network that facilitates daily commuting between towns.
It is estimated that the average distance between municipalities does not exceed 7 km and that if there was a well-conditioned network of bike paths, many more people would start using urban bikes in Vallès Oriental.
The rise of electric bikes is also positive for the future use of these routes. They require much lower levels of physical fitness, thus overcoming one of the biggest barriers to riding a bike.
What does this plan propose?
One of its clearest proposals is the extension of the current cyclic network, up to 190 km; at the moment, it’s only 31 km.
Right now, less than 1% of the population engages in interurban mobility by bicycle, this plan proposes two areas of Vallès Oriental with the potential to attract new users:
- The areas of Mollet -Parets- Lliçà de Valle i Sant Fost; and
- Granollers -Canovelles- Les Franqueses i La Roca del Vallès.
It envisaged that along with the expansion of the bicycle network, work will also be done on:
- The improvement and homogenisation of the signalling design.
- The improvement of the paving on the current paths
- The expansion of secure car parks at public transport stations.
The future is cyclable
It seems then that very soon, the dream of being able to get around Vallès Oriental on city bikes may be the reality that many of us were waiting for.
Having a bicycle network in good condition will give more autonomy to people who don’t have cars, such as young people who depend on their parents to give them a lift to public transport stations.
Likewise, it can be a motivation to do a little exercise for people who have never considered it.
And cycling tourism can be regionwide, accompanied by new economic initiatives that boost the area.
As you can see, there are only advantages!
Would you like to use a bike for your daily needs?
Tell us about it!