Blog - On TV with my bike!

Added on Saturday, 2012-02-25 10:28 CET in category Moscow
Back in October I was contacted by TV channel Russia 2, who were making an item about people who commute using alternative means of transport, i.e. not by subway or by car. They found me via Yandex, to where I commute by bike :) First there was a small interview, a la:
  • How are you liking Moscow?
  • So why exactly do you cycle?
  • Wow, you cycle in winter too?!
And so on. For their item they filmed me having breakfast and leaving the flat, as well as the cycling to work itself.

The program was only broadcast in January, three months later, and only recently did I get an electronic copy. So here it is, my first time on Russian public TV (ripped from Russia 2, starting 06:32):

Here's a rough translation:
Second story, Muscovite Dutchman, Nieko Maatjes. He goes around the capital streets by bike. What brought a bike fanatic, and a Dutch one at that, to our super-car-oriented capital? Love :) He married a Muscovite, but didn't give up on his habits.

Title: Nieko Maatjes, cyclist.
"In the Netherlands I lived in a village with about 20 thousand people, and here there're about 15 million, so... There it's all very quiet and calm, with fields, horses, cows, and it's not as chaotic as here. But here it's never boring, I like that a lot, there's always something to do. Always busy."

While we were filming this Muscovite Dutchman, we didn't see any other cyclists around. But Nieko Maatjes is used to this type of transport, his parents still cycle, and his grandparents also had bicycles. That's why Nieko isn't about to give up on his habits here.

"By bike you go faster than anyone else. I work at Park Kultury, but they closed the subway station there. So by subway it'd take 40 minutes or so, we don't have a car, by bus it'd also take about half an hour, and by bike 15 minutes."

"I don't know a single Dutchman who doesn't have a bike. A bike is simply transport. Well, it's used for fun too, but mainly for transport."

"Are Muscovites very surprised when they see you cycling?"

"Not too much, in winter sometimes, cause then I'm the only one. Even in February, when it was -25°C, in principle it's cold, but I just wear my scarf till here, hat starting here, and that's it. In summer there are some cyclists, at work we even have a bicycle parking. So there are cyclists, just not that many."

For those who want to follow Nieko's example, here are a few of his tips.

"In order to be safe, stick to the sidewalks. On the roads I only ride when it's either free or stuck. In general, people in Moscow drive very fast. In the Netherlands the speed limit is 50, and here by law it's 60, but they drive faster."

"So that's why I usually ride on the sidewalks. I lucked out, because the sidewalks to work are rather wide, so pedestrians aren't in the way so much. But the main thing is to just be careful. For drivers, you're just a pedestrian. And even more, they just don't expect anything to ride at 15-20 km/h."

"I don't wear any protection, I started riding a bike when I was 6 or so, but since then I cycled so much, that by now it'd be more of a bother than it'd be of any help. Also, in the Netherlands they joke, that protection, helmets etc. are for Germans, cause they wear all that, we don't :)"