All about cycling in the Netherlands
Posts in which I give you the opportunity to watch ordinary people cycling are usually very popular. They form an attractive balance to the posts about infrastructure and they show you – quite literally – what all that cycle infrastructure leads to: cycling for everyday purposes by a very wide range of the population.
The summer of 2014 is warmer than usual. The whole year is one of exceptionally high temperatures. That has reasons I won’t go into here, but it would help if there was more cycling worldwide. These higher temperatures don’t stop people cycling in the Netherlands. It never really gets too warm to cycle. Just as it hardly ever is too cold or too wet. Once you are used to cycling in all weather conditions, weather does not so much influence your decision to cycle or not. That said, summer is a time that more people cycle, for recreation for instance.
On a Tuesday afternoon in the summer holidays I pointed my camera at people cycling by on a main square in the centre of Utrecht. To focus even more on the variety of people who chose to cycle that day, I really followed individual people with my camera. This gives you slightly more time to look at them. Some of the people were a bit startled by the camera following them as they whisked by me, ‘whatever could be the reason’ you almost see them think. Others smile, some wave and some remain completely oblivious. They keep on doing what they do: using the bicycle to get from A to B easily, in a fast and appealing way, whilst enjoying the sun and the good infrastructure.
Video: beautiful people passing by on their bicycles in Utrecht.
All the footage was filmed within 40 minutes on Tuesday 5th August 2014, from 12:50h to 13:30h. That day the temperature was 24.3C and the sun has been shining for almost 12 hours.
The cycleways are of an unusual style. They are only separated from the main carriageway by a slight height difference and a kerb (curb). That is usual in Copenhagen but not so usual in the Netherlands. It has to do with how narrow the streets leading to and from this square are. Not best practice for the Netherlands, but it works here because motor traffic on the street is not too busy. It is really a bus only street, and that is why it is red. It can be used by buses in two directions, but motorised private vehicles are also allowed use this street in one direction: to leave the centre. “Shared use” Dutch style: a bus lane that may be used by private motor vehicles.