It seems everyone in Belgium has a bicycle. Motorists are very careful regardless of whether cycle tracks are laid or not and cycling is encouraged as a healthy option. Bicycle stands are seen everywhere in towns and by bus stops. Many cities and towns offer free bicycle hire.
Yesterday my two boys of 6 and 9 rode without stabilizer wheels on their bicycles for the first time. I was so pleased and proud. All the children here can ride bicycles but as we lived in England then Spain before, there was no opportunity for the boys to learn. Cycling in both those countries can be dangerous as motorists do not give consideration to cyclists. It was very hilly where we lived in Spain and the motorists drove badly, often ignoring red lights and zebra crossings so I never felt comfortable allowing my children to cycle. I myself had not been on a bicycle for 24 years until three weeks ago when I bought a new bicycle.
This morning, the boys strapped on their helmets and we all three cycled up to their school, 1km away. We crossed one main road with a roundabout but the motorists just stopped when they saw us.
We live in Limburg, called "Fiets Paradijs" (bicycle paradise) so we shall enjoy cycling here.
Antonia Stuart-James is an English hypnotherapist living in Limburg, Belgium.