Guest post by Chris Cooley, of the excellent wine blog, Drinking It All In.
Bordeaux is renowned the world over for its wines – especially its reds – and for being a powerhouse in the global wine industry. It showcases its prowess in viticulture with a bi-annual, four-day, wine festival that attracts thousands upon thousands of enthusiasts and revelers who come for the spectacle, the degustations, the classes and exhibitions.
On hearing the cities name spoken aloud anyone with even the slightest drop of knowledge about wine will likely imagine the sprawling vineyards and numerous châteaux that surround the city on both sides of the river. Plump, purple bunches of grapes hanging lazily from vines in the sun-soaked south of France. At very least the name Bordeaux will invoke the thought of that slightly more expensive yet ever-so elegant green bottle that you saw sat in a row among all the others at the local supermarket.
What is perhaps not so well known about Bordeaux is that it is also a world leader in cycle infrastructure and has a thriving cycle culture. According an index put together by advocates of bicycle urbanism ‘Copenhagenize’, Bordeaux is the 4thmost bicycle friendly city in the world. With comprehensive categories that include everything from ‘urban planning’, ‘traffic calming’, and ‘facilities’ to ‘social acceptance’ and ‘politics’. This in-depth survey is possibly the most accurate indicator of which cities on the world are best suited to bikers.
Both of these factors helped to convince me that moving to Bordeaux might be a good idea. Having spent over a year here: living, working, cycling and drinking, I feel I can personally vouch for both the quality of the wine and the quality of the cities’ bicycle friendliness. During my time here I have also noticed a trend that connects the cities’ love for both bikes and wine: A common site in the streets of Bordeaux is a pine wood box (originally used to transport wine bottles) mounted onto a bike’s luggage rack to make a kind of D.I.Y basket.
I find the aesthetic to be one of pure class, as the boxes are often emblazoned by the beautifully drawn logos of the respected châteaux. The idea of reusing and salvaging quality materials and crafting them into new products is also something that resonates with me and I’m sure many other people who subscribe to bicycle culture, as it too is often linked to ecological ethics.
I decided to do a photo series for Discerning Cyclist to document this ‘trend’, and give you, the reader, an idea of how exactly these contraptions look.
You can read more from Chris on his blog, Drinking It All In.