All about cycling in the Netherlands
Three rental cargo bikes and a group of smiling people could be seen riding through Utrecht on a beautiful autumn day not so long ago. They were on a tour that had got the name “Coeur Bike Utrecht”. The tour was organized by Judith Un-van der Toorn who lives in France but who is originally from The Netherlands. Visiting her home country for the Autumn holidays with her family she organized the tour to – as she put it – “promote the transversal power of biking”. It turned out to be a fun morning.
The tour had its beginning and end at one of the Utrecht bicycle parking facilities. The facility in the Zadelstraat is housed in a former store and has three cargo bikes for rent. Judith and a friend reserved all three. “Can you believe these cargo bikes cost only one Euro per hour to rent? One euro! And just see how much fun this group of people had for that ridiculously low amount of money.” Judith was very enthusiastic about this service in Utrecht. With the same enthusiasm she runs the organization E-Commobile conseil in her hometown of Chalon-sur-Saône in the Burgundy region in France. E-Commobile aims to provide guidance on behavioural changes towards sustainable transport. Its objective is to increase the modal share for daily bike users from 2.4% now to 10% in 2020, in large and medium-sized cities.
To get to this goal she is also involved in the local cycling school run by the organisation Espace PaMA for which she obtained an official Cycling Educator Certificate. Judith also participated in VéloCity 2015 in Nantes. She explains why: “In order to promote daily biking and to find support for the European pilot project Care Bike Coaching to learn child care professionals how to transport children from A to B in a cargo bike. Riding around with cargo bikes like we do now can already help to make that more known.” The number of cargo bikes in Chalon-sur-Saône got a significant boost recently when a nanny bought four cargo bikes at once! She can now be seen riding around town with children in that cargo bike. Judith: “This nanny is doing a great job to make cycling with cargo bikes more visible!”
Utility cycling is also on the rise. Judith’s French husband told me during the tour that he rides to work on a daily basis. “Just a few years ago I was the only one, but now you see more and more people starting to cycle to work.”
Judith planned the route in Utrecht with the help of Herbert Tiemens who was an excellent guide on the tour as well. At several stops he drew attention to some of the infrastructure and why that was built as it was at that location. The tour also went to Miffy Square, the oldest cycle path in the Netherlands and the world’s tallest Lego tower. After a fun morning of cycling Judith and her family went back to France where she will continue to promote everyday cycling. Feel free to support “Judith du PaMA” on social media: Twitter or Facebook (mostly in French).
My video of the Cargo Bike Tour in Utrecht