Flora cycles daily thanks to the bike box.
A woman in her thirties, very elegant with a mid-length skirt and heels, Flora has just put her bike in the box near her home in Saint-Gilles. She has been using this box for two years. “I spotted it when they installed them,” she recalls. “In my building, it is not easy to leave the bikes in the hall. So, I used to put my bike in the cellar but hardly used it. Now I have access to the bike box, I cycle daily. It is the most practical mode of transport to go to work or for relaxation. I would be lost without my bike.”
Every day (even when it’s raining), she cycles from Saint-Gilles to her work near Arts-Loi. It takes her about 20 minutes. She also uses her bike to collect her son from the crèche and also for all other journeys in the city. She and her partner do not have a car, so they do everything by bike: even the shopping. At the weekend they take bike trips in the Bois de la Cambre. Her partner has a folding bike that he can keep in their apartment.
Flora is French and had already become accustomed to cycling in Paris. “There, it is very different because we had a courtyard to store the bikes. When we were looking for an apartment in Brussels, the ability to store the bikes was a criterion. Then, because we liked the apartment, we said we would find another solution,” Flora explains.
In this type of situation, the bike boxes are truly a “good tool,” Flora emphasises. “It is secure, it doesn’t cost a lot and everyone has their own allocated spot. It is a good public investment that shows the will of the municipality to invest in quiet and environmentally-friendly mobility.”
Each bike is padlocked to a metal bar. Even with the child’s seat, the bike goes in without difficulty.
She doesn’t know any other users of her bike box. Everyone seems to have different schedules so people don’t meet each other. “The bike box doesn’t generate neighbour stories,” she laughs. “We should see what the user profile is; see if it helps convince people like me or even people from the more popular classes,” she asks.
Flora and her partner cycle for its many advantages. “There is a type of well-being such as not squeezing into public transport without lots of people. And then, with our son, it is more practical and quicker to take than a pushchair. But there is also the civic commitment; I work for the European institutions and there, there are lots of people who come by car. Brussels is still a highly car-centric city. So it is important to promote cycling,” she concludes.
An article from Violaine Jadoul