The premiere of the section of the Bici Bus between the headquarters of the Treasury and the Model reaches its goal by taking about twenty primary school kids to school
Just over twenty cyclists up to 11 years old on their way to school, guarded by their elders also riding bicycles and a dozen urban guards, have achieved around 8.20 in the morning of this Friday 19-N, which for a little more than a minute the Aragó street was silent between the Letamendi square and the vertical Aribau. Never has a traffic jam been more worthy.
A bus and half a dozen cars stopped in the pedestrian crossing that collides with the delegation of the Treasury and more than double the one that saves Aribau on the sea side. The cycling caravan pedaled calmly to the rhythm of the music that ‘Jota’ carried on his bike trailer, leading a couple of urban people on the back of electric ‘scooters’ and a patrol car, a Toyota hybrid. In the rear, identical protective replica.
8.21 hours. The snake slowly climbs the stretch from Aribau to Mallorca. The drivers contemplate it resigned in that frozen period of time, as in those first days of the confinement of 2020 when the chirping of the birds was heard thanks to the hoarseness of the engines. For a brief moment the song of robins over the jacarandas and palm trees was sensed. Or that of the presumably Argentine parrots. In nothing, he was lost between anxious accelerations and the howl of a 112 ambulance.
Thanks to the Bici Bus troop, how noisy Barcelona is is certified, in a Eixample of large decibels permanently, in addition to how imminent it is to change habits in the use of transport. On foot, by bike, skateboard, subway and bus, parking dirty cars and motorcycles far away. A warning, not all Barcelonans move around the city with identical pretensions. There are those who even drive to buy bread at the corner store.
The premiere of the new route to go to class (with the last stop at the Modelo) encouraged the awakening of Letamendi, a square that provides more space for the distraction of dogs than of the kids. The pipican exceeds the swings in meters. It must be because currently Barcelona is one of those cities that has more pets than children registered.
Those of the first morning barks, the creatures gathered on the sidewalk of the Hacienda, wore the blue bib of the Bici Bus. None of them were missing their helmets. It featured a blonde princess with a golden crown for protection. The parents, mostly thirty-somethings, residents of the Eixample, wielded bikes with the air of Decathlon, but also several Bromptons with extras to carry the child. The emotion was contagious with the addition to the group of some fanatic of ‘bicing’ and three postmodern grandparents riding a ‘vintage’ or an electric one. “We are going to get more and more families to take their kids to school by bike,” one of the organizers conjured, all wearing yellow overalls.
To the rhythm of the pirates
Víctor Jara sang that of life is eternal in five minutes. The less than 120 seconds in Letamendi taste like ‘I remember you Amanda’ by the singer-songwriter assassinated by Pinochet who also left us that lullaby from ‘Sleep, sleep black. The child cyclists were pedaling to a song they do know, ‘Els Pirates’ by El Pot Petit. The treasure island they are looking for in this case is located at the entrance to their schools: Auró (Mallorca, 106), Llorers (Aragó, 121), Ipsi (Comte de Borrell, 243), Entença (Provença, 11) and Xirinacs ( Entença, 155, where the Modelo prison was held and the activist who gave the school its name was on a hunger strike).
The car-free walk along Calle de Mallorca also benefited for a few moments from the volume lowered until it surpassed the Ninot market. When we reached the junction with Urgell, the panorama changed. This point concentrates more road traffic between eight and nine in the morning than Aribau, Mallorca and Provença. The Guàrdia Urbana patrol, cutting off traffic to reach the Auró, sowed surprise among drivers and motorcycle riders. As soon as they found that the funnel was growing and they could not follow Urgell up, they composed a concert of honking.
Some of the pissed off were parents rushing the minutes taking their children to school. Others, rushing messengers used to running red lights, whizzed out as the city patrol retreated.
Those of the Bici Bus want this bet to be repeated every Friday. So be it.
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