Last Sunday was a day full of activities in Nijmegen. A new “snelfietsroute” (fast cycle route) was festively opened and there was a Cargo Bike Festival (Bakfietstreffen). I made three videos this week to give you an idea of what it was like.
Let’s start with the festive opening. A few dozen people gathered in front of Nijmegen’s city office. From there they rode to the start of the six kilometre long North Nijmegen-Beuningen Fast Cycle Route. Some officials, including the director of the Dutch Cyclists’ Union, a municipal executive board member and others, representing province and region, went in an electric assist, but mainly human-powered, ‘cycle bus‘. Before the official opening of this part of the cycle route, they signed an intention to build more cycle routes, in particular the South Nijmegen-Beuningen Fast Cycle Route.
After the official opening, the party continued and everybody cycled a part of the new cycle route to the location of the “bakfietstreffen“, an annual cargo bike festival organised by Jos Sluijsmans of Fietsdiensten in Nijmegen. The first sunday of the year with perfect weather made that several thousands of people came to watch all kinds of cargo bikes. From very traditional old wooden ones, to practical and professional ones like the bikes from DHL. But there were also fun ones, like a bike looking like a car, a bakfiets carousel, a bakfiets coffee stand, a music bakfiets and a bakfiets pizza oven. Most of the 112 cargo bikes on display could be used for a trial ride by the visitors. One lady tried a bike with a “door” to the low cargo box, which made it possible for her very old dog to just walk in. That dog could not have jumped into a normal cargo box anymore. It seemed the dog liked the experience. It was also great fun to see children screaming for joy in the bakfiets carousel! Watching all these kinds of things happening made it a fun afternoon.
Most of the professional delivery cargo bikes, like the German Urban-E are electric assist bikes and they could change the way deliveries in the inner-cities will be made in future. On behalf of Cyclelogistics, Ton Daggers called on the city officials to get rid of the red tape: it is sometimes too difficult to get permissions to use the cargo bikes instead of the polluting motor vehicles, that has to change!
Away from the party, I rode part of the new route, actually the final 2 kilometres into Nijmegen at the location of an old railway line in the port area/industrial zone. The third video this week shows that ride. I did not stop at the end of the cycle route, but continued into the city. The last 30 seconds of the video show you that cycling infra never really stops in the Netherlands: new infrastructure simply connects to infrastructure that is already there.
As you can see, the route is not entirely finished yet. The centre lines are still missing; they could not be placed due to the frost we were experiencing up to last week. It seems some footpaths need to be finished as well, and when the grass next to the track will grow back, this will be a perfect route. The six kilometre ride from Beuningen into Nijmegen will take less than 15 minutes on an electric assist bicycle, which makes this route a great alternative to private motor transport. The beautiful wide ‘cycle highway’ with the smoothest red asphalt makes cycling an any type of bicycle very easy and fun!