All about cycling in the Netherlands
When I showed you people continue to cycle during a short and light summer shower in ʼs-Hertogenbosch, exactly three months ago, someone on YouTube commented: “You should make one in heavier rain! That is just a sprinkle!”. That person had a point, and because I always try to listen to my viewers, there’s a new video of a much heavier autumn shower in Utrecht that I’d like to show you in this post.
This video was shot on the 21st of October, which was a genuine autumn day with precipitation for 11.4 hours with a total sum of 23.9 mm of rain (almost an inch). With 14 degrees Celsius, (57.2F) it wasn’t really a cold day. So people do not wear gloves or woolen scarves yet. (Yesterday, that was a bit different: the 3rd of December was the coldest day in almost 21 months in The Netherlands, with temperatures around the freezing point.) I shot this video during my lunch break, in a time span of only 15 minutes. The radar image in this post is from exactly that time frame. It shows there was really heavy rain at that particular moment.
The location may seem familiar. I filmed here before on a true summer day and that video showed a lot of beautiful people cycling. There are always people saying such videos only show so many people because of the good weather. Now you can compare and I think you can see that there are indeed fewer people cycling, but there is not that much difference. There are still quite a lot of people who are not disturbed by the rain. You can see many children, because they had their autumn holidays.
There is much more rain gear in this video than the one I shot during the light sprinkle in ʼs-Hertogenbosch. People do have their gear for the heavier rain stashed away in their personal belongings, which only comes out when it is really needed. That makes is possible for many people to continue to cycle from A to B even on wetter days in autumn. Well, you have to really, haven’t you? … When you went from A to B in the morning when it was still dry, you will have to cycle back from B to A, no matter if it rains or not. And people do.
Could we make the rainy trip any better for these people cycling? Architect Steven Fleming thinks we can and should; by building roofing over the cycle tracks. He wondered on Twitter why the Dutch don’t. After a long Twitter debate Sally Hinchcliffe replied with a perfect post, which I can only recommend. I too think it would not be a good idea. We couldn’t and shouldn’t build roofs over cycle paths anywhere. They would be ugly (even with good and costly maintenance) and pretty useless most of the time, annoying all the rest of the time.
The people in this video show that when you are truly committed to cycling, as a person or as a nation, you will cycle regardless of the weather conditions. Covered cycleways don’t make any difference, the fact that there are cycleways in the first place does make a difference.
This week’s video: cycling in the rain in the centre of Utrecht