Biking in Geneva is my absolute favorite form of transportation. For newcomers and cyclist wannabes it can be a daunting prospect so these are my recommendations about how to get started and stay safe.
Try it for free: Genève Roule loans bicycles free of charge for four hours and rents a variety of upper scale bikes for a day, weekend or longer periods of time.
Buying a bicycle: This could be a blog in and of itself. Based on personal experience, I recommend small shops that love bikes. Personally I shop at Sold Sports in Carouge and I have heard good things about Viscacha Bike. If you are looking for a used bike check out the bourse aux vélos organized by Pro Velo. Or, there is an interesting group of ateliers that I have read about called Péclôt 13 that restore and sell bikes including some interesting classics.
Be Seen: I wear bright yellow in the day and have flashing front, rear and wheel lights at night. I wish I could say this is a sure way to be seen but just yesterday a pedestrian who was so focused on the cars stepped right in front of me in the bike lane. I am still not sure how we avoided a nasty collision.
Be Heard: Have a bell and use it whenever you pass another bike or pedestrian. One thing I have learned is people, children and dogs make unexpected moves all the time. Let them know you are coming.
Be careful passing cars: Bike lanes are on the right side of cars. If there are slow or stopped vehicles be careful passing. Drivers rarely look behind and to the right before they turn.
Wear a helmet: Yes, ladies, we get helmet hair but our brain is our life line.
Pick up a bike map: The Geneva tourist office has a free Geneva bike trail map. I have left a stack of them in the AIWC cloakroom. It illustrates where you find designated lanes, dangerous crossings and recommended quiet roads.
Adapt your speed: There are areas where you just need to slow down; for example, around Genève Plage and Bain de Pâquis, crossing the Mont Blanc bridge and the areas around the rue de Rhone and train station. Unfortunately as soon as you get into the heart of the city, the designated lanes disappear.
Enjoy: Your heart is pumping, your lungs are breathing and the elements are touching your face. You are outside, experiencing the landscape and people around you. What’s there not to enjoy?
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/