Brussels Express: The Perils of Cycling in Europe’s Most Congested City

The Bel­gians take their cycling seri­ous­ly. After all, it’s the birth­place of Eddy Mer­ckx, the five time cham­pi­on of the Tour de France. And it’s a coun­try that plays host to some of the great short races in the sport: La Flèche Wal­lonne, E3 Harel­beke, Gent–Wevelgem, and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. If you’re famil­iar with these races, you know they’re not for the faint of heart, see­ing that they some­times take rid­ers across long sec­tions of dan­ger­ous cob­ble­stones. (Get a feel for that here.) But when you watch this new doc­u­men­tary, Brus­sels Express, you start to won­der whether the real risks are not being tak­en by bike mes­sen­gers in Brus­sels, one of the most con­gest­ed cities in Europe. As David Byrne recent­ly showed us, some mod­ern cities (New York, Copen­hagen, Mod­e­na) try to make cyclists feel at home. Not so in Brus­sels. Direct­ed and shot by Sander Van­den­broucke, Brus­sels Express offers a com­men­tary on some­thing larg­er than cycling itself. It’s real­ly a tale about moder­ni­ty, the auto­mo­bile, the choic­es we make in our con­tem­po­rary, mech­a­nized lives, and their social costs. The film runs 20 min­utes, and it appears in our col­lec­tion of Free Doc­u­men­taries, part of our col­lec­tion of 635 Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Byrne: From Talk­ing Heads Front­man to Lead­ing Urban Cyclist

The Physics of the Bike

A Young Frank Zap­pa Plays the Bicy­cle on The Steve Allen Show (1963)

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  • pkultra says:

    Great movie. Beau­ti­ful­ly shot. I love Brus­sels and agree it is con­gest­ed, most­ly due to the influx of peo­ple for the Euro, NATO, etc. I don’t think it’s any worse than Rome where the dri­vers are much more aggres­sive and it’s still bet­ter than just about every Amer­i­can city where dri­vers are open­ly hos­tile to peo­ple on bikes.

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