Anyone ever considered moving abroad for the better cycling experience?

PK99

Legendary Member
Location
SW19
The only roads I've cycled that I think were genuinely safer than UK roads - as opposed to some rose tinted impression - was Amish country in Pennsylvania, where the roads are broad and straight and visibility is as good as ever, but there were few cars.
The worst cycling experiences I have ever had were in France on a ride to the Ventoux area and on LP ride, the worst examples:

1. Long draggy up hill. Enormous truck came alongside, and moved closer and closer pushing me to the side until I could have reached out bent armed on one side and touched his wheel and on the other the armco barrier. People in the group asked if I was ok when we got to the top - they had been genuinely worried for my safety.

2. Long straight downhill. Wide cycle lane 20plus mph. Car coming from side-track pulls out to the edge of the road proper ie across the cycle lane.
Full on emergency breaking - choice: Hit the side of the car. Swing in front with traffic coming up hill and rick a head on collision. Swing behind.

I chose the swing behind option, how I managed to stay upright I will never know.

3. Twisty valley ride alongside river. Low stone parapet wall on one side. Rock face on the other. French driver came partly alongside but found he could not see enough to pass, instead of backing off he came ever closer pushing me to the parapet wall to the point I was forced to stop.

4. On the L2P, ride into outskirts of Paris to find booked hotel was a long succession of crazy close passes.

France may appear safer because there are fewer cars in most areas, but the standard of driving I experienced on those trips was worse than anything I have experienced in the UK
 

Gunk

Über Member
Location
Oxford
The word "driving" is not needed in this sentence. British people are in general, selfish, arrogant, me me me. And getting worse :sad:.
IMO It’s been like this since the 1980’s Thatcher is partly to blame, traditional working class communities have been broken down, Britain has emerged into the 21st century a fundamentally selfish country. More recently, celebrity culture has made people greedy and dissatisfied. However not everyone is like this, I still meet plenty of nice, decent, honest people.
 

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
IMO It’s been like this since the 1980’s Thatcher is partly to blame, traditional working class communities have been broken down, Britain has emerged into the 21st century a fundamentally selfish country. More recently, celebrity culture has made people greedy and dissatisfied. However not everyone is like this, I still meet plenty of nice, decent, honest people.
Two words: Top Gear. Or, if you prefer, Jeremy Clarkson.
 

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
IMO It’s been like this since the 1980’s Thatcher is partly to blame, traditional working class communities have been broken down, Britain has emerged into the 21st century a fundamentally selfish country. More recently, celebrity culture has made people greedy and dissatisfied. However not everyone is like this, I still meet plenty of nice, decent, honest people.
Couldn't agree with this more; we have some beautiful countryside but the country itself is ruined by its population and the shallow, selfish, distractionary and divisive values that have been instilled in them over decades by the privileged elite for their own benefit.

Demise of the empire ignored as a country in isolation we've been in decline since maybe the '60s or '70s it seems, however there have been a number of step-changes that seem to have hastened the rate of the decay; Thatcher certainly didn't help with her love of individualist deregulated yank-style neo-con governance, Brexit will be another cliff-edge drop once the "deal" is finalised and it really sinks in how screwed we all are as a result.

Give it 20-30yrs and I think we'll end up like some poor state in the US or backward country in Europe - minimal / substandard / privatised social service and healthcare infrastructure, massive wealth disparity, no social mobility or future prospects, high crime and social unrest, no manufacturing or self-sufficient production of essentials, a reliance on imports which will be costly thanks to our worthless currency, high cost of living, low quality of life, falling life expectancy..

I'm extremely envious of those I know who've had the opportunity / foresight to already escape these shores :rolleyes:
 
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Location
London
I drove down to Tuscany a couple of years ago for a cycling holiday. Driving through Florence I spotted a very old guy with a walking stick on the kerb by a Zebra crossing, I stopped and gestured for him to cross. He looked at me as if I was demented and the noise of the car horns behind was incessant. The old chap refused to cross so I reluctantly carried on my way still with blaring horns behind reminding me of my transgression. When I related my tale to my Italian hosts I was told in no uncertain terms that the traffic stops for no one. :wacko:
This is exactly my impression of italy, see above. I have also stopped on my bike for someone on a zebra and have them refuse to cross. I can only think that they think my bike an insufficient barrier to the traffic behind. One person looked worried for me - i think they thought the bus behind me might just crush me. I have seen women with babes in arms retreat from the zebra because the traffic just kept on coming. I refuse to see it as local colour. It stinks. As a pedestrian i take an assertive approach to zebras in italy. One of my favoured techniques is to walk out giving the impression that I am not looking at all. This can alarm them enough to make them stop. If a driver who clearly had no intention to stop does only eventually grudgingly stop because of my assertiveness, i have been known to bang on their bonnets as i cross. Some of them, a very very significant minority, are truly pathetic.
 
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Brandane

Is it because I lied when I was 17?
Location
Costa Clyde.
I've been to France quite a few times cycling, and yes in rural areas it is hard to beat, but in built up areas it is just as bad as GB..

I do remember coming back from one French trip and going out for a local rural ride the next day. Weather was ideal (France had been damp) and I wondered why I had bothered going to France with such nice countryside on my doorstep.

Thing is, it gets boring and repetitive and I need to go further afield to explore new roads. I make use of a good local train service for that. Same would happen if I moved to France or Spain.

For now, I am lucky to live in a relatively sparsely populated corner of Britain with some roads that are still fun to cycle on (and drive/motorcycle on for that matter). If only the climate was better :okay:.
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
I've been to France quite a few times cycling, and yes in rural areas it is hard to beat, but in built up areas it is just as bad as GB..

I do remember coming back from one French trip and going out for a local rural ride the next day. Weather was ideal (France had been damp) and I wondered why I had bothered going to France with such nice countryside on my doorstep.

Thing is, it gets boring and repetitive and I need to go further afield to explore new roads. I make use of a good local train service for that. Same would happen if I moved to France or Spain.

For now, I am lucky to live in a relatively sparsely populated corner of Britain with some roads that are still fun to cycle on (and drive/motorcycle on for that matter). If only the climate was better :okay:.
I do know of a couple (friends of friends) who moved from Coleraine to some rural spot somewhere between Newtownstewart and Dumfries purely because they enjoyed cycling there so much.
 

Gunk

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Cities aren’t all bad, I still never tire of my 14 miles circular route in and out of Oxford.
539378

539379
 

DCBassman

Veteran
Location
Tavistock
Give it 20-30yrs and I think we'll end up like some poor state in the US or backward country in Europe - minimal / substandard / privatised social service and healthcare infrastructure, massive wealth disparity, no social mobility or future prospects, high crime and social unrest, no manufacturing or self-sufficient production of essentials, a reliance on imports which will be costly thanks to our worthless currency, high cost of living, low quality of life, falling life expectancy..
V for Vendetta. On its way to a UK near you.
 

Dwn

Well-Known Member
I've driven in a lot of countries, but cycling abroad has been restricted to short trips in France and Belgium. My impression is that driving standards and the level of courtesy in the UK is very high in comparison to much of Europe (and beyond). Rural France and Belgium were lovely to cycle in and drivers do seem to give more space to cyclists - but not to each other. I'd move abroad for climate reasons; nicer cycling would just be a bonus.

As for the UK is finished viewpoint - people have been saying that for the last century. It wasn't true in 1900 and it isn't true now. The place has its faults but what country doesn't? I was a remain voter but to suggest that we are done for by leaving the EU just isn't true. And it's not as if the EU is short of problems either.
 
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