All about cycling in the Netherlands
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.
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.
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.
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.