BICYCLE DUTCH

All about cycling in the Netherlands

Cycling through the heath

Three years ago I showed you how I had cycled through the heath with all the heather in full bloom near Hilversum in North-Holland. That was also the last time I saw heather in full bloom.Which is a shame, because even though it is only purple for a couple of weeks in late Summer and early Autumn, I really don’t have to go all the way to Hilversum. I can also cycle about 15 kilometres (less than 10 miles) from my home and visit large areas of heath.

heath

It seems like a painting, the landscape with all the different colours on the heath.

So about two weeks ago I did and I enjoyed every minute of it. I know the way, but when I asked the Route Planner of the Cyclists’ Union to plot a a tour of about 45 kilometres from my home, it came up with the exact same route I thought of myself!

I cycle this route to the Loonse en Drunense Duinen (Sand dunes of Loon and Drunen) more often, but I hadn’t while the heather was in full bloom. So that was an extra bonus this time. I filmed to give you some idea of how beautiful it looks. Unfortunately the colour of the heather is a difficult one to capture on film. It turns brownish, where in reality it was bright purple! Very odd.

This is the route the Route Planner of the Cyclists' Union came up with when asked for a nice tour of about 45km from my home. It is the exact same route I thought of and cycled myself.

This is the route the Route Planner of the Cyclists’ Union came up with when asked for a nice tour of about 45km from my home. It is the exact same route I thought of and cycled myself. The purple patches to the left are the heath areas. Almost the entire route is away from motor traffic on separate recreational cycleways.

Of course, since this was on a Sunday, I wasn’t the only one enjoying nature on a bicycle. That is something many Dutch do. So it was again crowded on the cycleways. But not too crowded. It was still a very enjoyable ride.

There are even more direct routes to the (Loonse and) Drunense Duinen from 's-Hertogenbosch. Apparently it can be as short as 14.4 kilometres!

There are even more direct routes to the (Loonse and) Drunense Duinen from ʼs-Hertogenbosch. Apparently it can be as short as 14.4 kilometres!

 

Cycling through the heath in September 2014.
In the Loonse & Drunense Duinen (Sand dunes of Loon and Drunen)

The cycling infrastructure that can be seen in the video may seem narrow. That is because this video depicts a different cycling network: the recreational cycling network, for which different standards apply. This is not the cycle network that people use to get from A to B quickly. Paths in the countryside – which were specifically built for recreation – are often shared with people walking as well, but since these paths are indeed used for leisurely rides, that is not such a big problem. The recreational network, with paths that are usually completely detached from roads for motor traffic, predates the standard cycling network by about 50 years, as I explained in an earlier post. The system of numbered junctions also mostly uses this recreational cycle network.

 

3 comments on “Cycling through the heath

  1. Rick Taintor
    26 September 2014

    The beautiful landscapes and excellent infrastructure in the Netherlands always make for great cycling, but last week added perfect late-summer/early-autumn weather. Early in the week we spent several days cycling around Amersfoort, including a lovely 30 km ride in the dunes and heather west of the city, and a longer ride west from Hilversum across the lake, up the Vecht and back to Amersfoort. Later we also cycled through the Drents-Friese Wold and Zuid-Kennemerland National Parks: more hills, dunes and – yes – heather. What a beautiful time of year, and so many opportunities to enjoy it!

  2. a
    19 September 2014

    I admire the Dutch, people who own cars, yet haven’t abandoned cycling long distances and don’t seem to view cycling or public transportation as something to be ashamed about or only for poor or low-income people to use.

  3. Examined Spoke
    18 September 2014

    When I was a kid, on some Sundays my dad would announce a drive into the countryside, whereupon the five of us would pile into the car, and mosey out to the orchards and the foothills near the central California town where we lived. I have my earliest memories of driving during these times, me perched in his lap and hands firmly on the wheel, while he operated the accelerator and brake. These are fond memories of family and hot afternoons in the countryside, but I don’t know of anyone who does this driving anymore, none of the kind of “pointless” rambling we used to enjoy. I think much of the change relates to the way car use has gotten harder in the last forty years, more traffic, higher costs, less novelty.

    Your description of weekend riding reminds me of our trips, and probably would have been the way we would have spent our Sunday afternoons had the cycling options been better. I had the pleasure of observing “pointless Dutch cycling” one Sunday in 2010, as I was pushing my way from the German border towards Groningen. There were so many heartwarming couples on their bicycles, out enjoying a late summer afternoon, sometimes hand-in-hand, and sometimes whole families.

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