Cargo bike festival and new cycle route in Nijmegen

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.

The festive opening of the fast cycle route Nijmegen – Beuningen

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!

16 thoughts on “Cargo bike festival and new cycle route in Nijmegen

  1. Hai Mark,
    Fantastic report on the opening of the Super Cycle Highway Nijmegen-Beuningen, nice video. It was a great day. Also the combination with the second international bakfietstreffen was a good idea, everybody loved it.
    I hope we can open the south branch of Nijmegen-Beuningen soon (2014-2015?), it will be a great route too, 100% high cycling quality through the existing city, with a new cycling tunnel, the fietsstraat Dennenstraat (cyclingstreet) etc.
    See you later!

    MartijnLi – Cycling policy officer- City of Nijmegen
    Member of

    1. It’s annual! 🙂 But we were very lucky with the weather this year. I talked to someone who came back earlier from Brazil for this and there were people from Hungary who came for this especially, so why not from Chicago! 🙂

  2. Gee I’m sorry I missed that cargo bike festival, but thanks for the videos.

    The snelfietsroute isn’t quite what I expected. I thought on a snelfietsroute there would be commuters with their heads down and serious peletons on roadbikes hurtling along as fast as possible.

    It’s an excellent cycle path of course, but how is it different from other cycleways? Does the 25kph speed limit still apply on it? Can the dreaded scooters use it too?

    1. I think the concept of a snelfietsroute is about the alignment and direction, with the goal being to minimize the number of intersections and conflicts with other modes.

      1. It is indeed like Steven says. Straight routes with wide curves and away from other traffic to minimise conflict. And also fast cycle routes are usually between smaller towns where people live and larger cities where they work. They should give people a reasonable alternative to motor transport. But you are right Richard: the average cycle path in the Netherlands is already so good that it is hard to tell the difference. It also didn’t help that I show you what it looked like on a Sunday: no commuters and a lot of people coming to have a look, also on foot. This route will look a whole lot different on a Monday morning! Mopeds (the light type) are treated as bicycles by the law, so yes, they will be here too. The 25kph limit is for electric assist bikes yes. That will not change.

        1. There is no speed limit for bicycles, not even for electric assist bikes. However, to be regarded a bicycle (instead of a light moped), the electrical assistance has to stop at 25km/h. That means it’s all human powered above that speed.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Although I have never commented before I’ve been reading your blog for some time now ( and previously watched your films at A View From the Cycle Path ) so I am aware that the people of Nijmegen and Beuningen probably see this new path as necessary but not unusual. If my town had just one cycle path like this I would be very, very proud indeed. Unfortunately, I live near the junction where Bradley Wiggins was knocked off his bike when he returned home after the Olympics last year. I don’t ride a bike.

    1. Thanks! You are very welcome to comment any time. Nice to know that someone who doesn’t ride a bike still likes to follow my blog.
      I have seen that junction on pictures and in google streetview. I fully understand that you wouldn’t like to ride a bike on that type of roads. But would you like to if there was better infrastructure?

      1. Oh yes, absolutely!

        I don’t drive, nor can I walk long distances (owing to an old ankle injury) so cycling would give me independence. I’m off to my local Lidl soon; it’s about 4-5km away and I have to go by car (so someone has to drive me there) because there is no public transport connexion, except by taking three buses. If I could negotiate that junction, however, I could then cycle along a bridleway which would take me almost to Lidl’s door. And of course there are other examples such as this that I could give you.

        It is so frustrating to have to rely on the generosity of others to be able do the things most people take for granted, especially when I really ought to be able to do them myself.

        Thank-you for the welcome and take care.

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