Vitoria-Gasteiz is a city that has become a benchmark in the use of bicycles. Its size, its orography, -very flat-, and the proliferation of bike lanes, make this vehicle one of the most used by its inhabitants when traveling.
In this new chapter of SER Ciclista, we spoke with the mayor of Gasteiztarra, Gorka Urtaran (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1973), that he is also a fan of two wheels, and that he takes care of us by keeping the work schedule from his home, despite being affected by coronavirus and, fortunately, in good health. Gorka is also president of the Association of Basque Municipalities, Eudel.
As all our guests remember his biggest fall on his bike, which occurred “When I was little, there was a “Ceda el Paso” next to our house that we did not usually respect, and once I was caught by a car, although it did nothing to me. The driver was not going very fast and was more scared than me“That yes, the experience helped him” to use the bicycle in a more correct way. “
Gorka he has used the bicycle since he was little in Izarra, the town in Alava where he spent his summers, “when we were 13, 14 years old we would take them to go on excursions with friends”, but he smiles at the definition of “mayor-cyclist”, “there will be many more cyclists than me … . “
Nowadays use the mountain bike more, “to avoid vehicles”, in the few moments that leave him free his dedication to municipal politics and family life, and It serves as a “disconnection from politics”. Make marches of 100 to 110 km, with slopes of 2,600 / 2,700 meters, and if possible “in company, it becomes more enjoyable …” Most of them in Euskadi, where “you can transport yourself in a short time and change a lot of scenery “.
Consider Vitoria-Gasteiz an ideal city for cycling, “is the second city with the most kms of bike lanes, it is the largest municipality in Euskadi, with fantastic forests 15 minutes away, the Green Belt, the Sierra de Badaia very close and all this was worthwhile during the perimeter confinement “.
Urtaran reflect on our podcast on urban space, “cities have to evolve, 70% of the space is dedicated to private vehicles”. And it calls for the use of public transport “especially electric”, pedestrian paths and bike lanes. His city has also become a reference of the triathlon, since the celebration in 2012 of a World Cup event of the specialty.
Faced with the traditional question of tandem, I would share it “with a good friend or with a person who has many things to tell, someone who could contribute a lot … “and I would not do it “with those who do not want to work in a team”. And he has transmitted the love for two wheels to his children: “the two oldest, 12 and 14 years old, go to school and other activities by bike.”
His political vocation is inherited from his mother, Maria Jesús Aguirre, deputy mayor of the city for many years, “but my mother never encouraged me, although she saw it as irremediable. I try to keep up with her, which is very difficult.” Precisely he remembers the death of his parents as the most difficult port he has overcome, along with “gender violence, the murders of women in the city.”
BE A Cyclist, is the Cadena SER podcast about the world of the bike, with Nerea Sáenz de Lafuente, and the sponsorship of Custom4, specialists in biomechanics.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.