The scene outside any Oxford college. This one is Christ Church.
The bicycles in front of every school remind John and me of our own student days at the University of Geneva, except that Oxford is mercifully flat, while Geneva's streets are perpendicular. It's not only students who ride bikes here. Postmen use them, policemen use them, businessmen and women use them. So far this morning our favorite riders are a gray bearded man with a bright orange safety vest and a bowler hat, and a heavyset woman in a long black robe and a round collar.
Bicycles here are given the same respect -- and follow the same rules -- as cars. When I googled a map to the Tate Britain museum in London two days ago, I was offered routes by bus, tube, car or bike, this last showing bike paths and bicycle parking lots.
And you'd better follow the road rules! In Geneva 65 years ago, John was issued a ticket by an irate policeman for stopping his bike just a foot beyond a stop sign. Bike riders here screech to a stop at pedestrian crossings and wouldn't dream of going the wrong way on a one way street.
I think with shame of my otherwise beloved New York, where I've seen bikes go not only against traffic but on the sidewalk, and nearly been knocked down by bicycles on Central Park's "NO BICYCLE RIDING" paths. Maybe when the price of gas at home gets as high as it is here, we'll all get bikes, follow the rules, and save the environment.