I’ve done a lot of bicycling here. I do a certain amount of biking in California, but this is one of the most bike-friendly places I’ve ever lived. (Not having a car also makes a difference.)
The bikes are ubiquitous, and they go everywhere, it seems.
Part of the improvisational quality of biking comes from the fact that it’s not always clear here what’s a single-lane road, and what isn’t. Some of the roads are very old, and expanding them isn’t really an option.
It all reminds me of sociologist Harry Collins’ explanation of the different kinds of knowledge: riding a bicycle involves embodied and tacit knowledge, while successfully riding a bicycle in traffic is a form of local knowledge. The former involves learning how to operate a piece of machinery; the latter requires learning how others behave, and how they’ll treat you if you act in certain ways.