Winter cycling impressions in Utrecht, Netherlands.
In a country where cycling is mostly for utility purposes people don’t stop using their bikes just because temperatures drop below freezing point. When you use your bicycle to organize your life in summer you will do that in winter too.
This is an average Wednesday afternoon in the Netherlands’ fourth largest city of Utrecht. It was January 6th, 2010, temperature was about -3C or 26.6F. None of the cyclists in this movie are commuters since none of this was filmed during rush hours. We do see school children who have the afternoon off so many parents took them to the city park. The children enjoy skating and playing on the ice of the pond. One dad puts on his son’s skates while the boy is sitting on his dad’s bicycle rack.
People of all ages and classes go about their daily business on their bicycles. They are getting to and from work, study and shopping. We see people taking their groceries home on their bikes. A woman picks up her young son who tripped over the empty bottles they are going to put in the recycle containers, while another woman is getting rid of her old paper. Both women used their bikes to get to the containers.
The stream of cyclists passing by is endless. They use the specific bike lanes and separate cycle tracks. They get priority over busses and cars and at busy junctions they have their own phases of green on the specific cycle traffic lights. And when cyclists or moped riders run red lights we see that they get stopped by the police for a fine.
Just another day in the Netherlands. It isn’t just in Amsterdam that cycling is normal. It is all over the country.
Music by the Dutch composer Bernard Zweers (1854-1924) Symphony No. 3; Aan mijn vaderland (1890).
Winter cycling in Utrecht