All about cycling in the Netherlands
To review 2015 I made a video that includes scenes of all the videos I published this year. It is a good tradition to look back at all that you’ve done in the year that is about to end, but I wanted to go further than just listing the best and the least often viewed videos. So for the first time I did a round-up of the all my own posts and videos of 2015 in one video! If you discover something of interest, that you may have missed or would like to see again, you can find descriptions of all the scenes, with a link to the original post, below the video.
The year 2015 on my blog!
A brand new bi-directional cycleway was built and opened this year on Reitscheweg in my hometown ʼs-Hertogenbosch. A very different type of cycleway was built in a new nature area alongside the also new Máximakanaal. It has a gravel surface! On the other side of that same canal we find a ‘regular’ cycleway: wide and with a smooth asphalt surface. More new cycle infrastructure in the recently built city expansion Groote Wielen. This is how the Dutch build cycleways today, when they have a blank canvas.
Finally in this section two examples of intercity cycleways, that we see more and more of in The Netherlands. In the South there is the Greenport Bikeway from the towns of Venlo to Horst-Sevenum and in the East we find the perfect fast cycle route from the cities of Arnhem to Nijmegen, the RijnWaalPad.
The next section shows posts that inform you how the Dutch try to redesign areas in their cities to make them better for people. This can be done with simple bollards, but also with a complete redesign of a street. Sint Jacobsstraat in Utrecht is an excellent example. Sometimes I only showed the before situation such as the area around the Amsterdam Central Station where a lot of work is going to be done in the very near future. Already finished was the Mariaplaats in Utrecht and what a transformation it is! I also cycled in the Utrecht Sint Jacobsstraat to show you the transformation in a before and after side by side. That brings us to the next cluster of posts; the side by side comparisons.
The first example is a missing link that was completed in the rural area just outside ʼs-Hertogenbosch. The example of the Troelstralaan in Utrecht shows you how a residential street was transformed into a cycle street where cycling has priority. Again in ’s-Hertogenbosch the Maastrichtseweg had a servicestreet 5 years ago. Now that is gone, as is most of the traffic and so the street could also become a cycle street.
An entirely different example is Zandzuigerstraat in the same city. This arterial already had uni-directional cycleways on both sides of the road way, but the outdated surface of concrete tiles was changed into one of smooth asphalt.
I also used the side by side comparison to show you how Dutch cities make sure cycling in the snow is possible. I used it in my presentation at the Winter Cycling Congress in Leeuwarden this year. The effort it takes to clear the cycleways of snow and ice is explained in another post and video. Snow doesn’t stop the Dutch from cycling in their typically Dutch way: holding hands is even possible in snow and with gloves on. Children standing tall on their parents’ bicycles is another habit that raised a lot of eye brows!
Yes of course I had to show some bridges, but I only showed two real bridges – over water – in the entire year. One was a cycle bridge in Tilburg, the other a brand new and huge cycle bridge in Nieuwegein. All the other ‘bridges’ were really viaducts – over other traffic – such as the one between ʼs-Hertogenbosch and Rosmalen to lead you over a turbo-roundabout. The beautiful wooden cycle viaduct in Harderwijk makes crossing a motorway easy. As does the one in Maarssen. The north circular ring road of Utrecht can now also be crossed on another level; on a viaduct in Overvecht. A spectacular large cycle viaduct was opened in Naaldwijk. It lets you cycle over an even more spectacular large turbo-roundabout.
The first Dutch Garden bridge was opened in ʼs-Hertogenbosch. It is a “park on legs” that takes you over – among other things – rail road tracks. Virtually the only “tunnel” I showed you this year is of a stunning beauty. It is actually an underpass that takes you – almost at ground level – under raised rail road tracks. The ones of the Amsterdam Central Station.
People love their cargo bikes in The Netherlands. A small group of people cycled the heart on the map of Utrecht in their Coeur bike Utrecht Tour with three rental cargo bikes. A several hundred cargo bikes could be seen riding in the streets of Nijmegen for the annual Cargo Bike Festival Tour.
But you see cargo bikes “in the wild” as well. Riding in the Arnhem “Berenkuil” (Bear pit) for instance. A monumental bicycle roundabout at ground level with a raised motor traffic roundabout over it. The Berenkuil in Sint Michielsgestel was not so well executed. The roundabout for cycling at the bottom of the pit is a design mistake that still has to be corrected. Road designers who are not too familiar with designing for the bicycle exist even in The Netherlands and they make the same mistakes as everywhere else in the world: Bicycles are not mini-cars and you should not make mini versions of car infrastructure for them!
That there is nothing wrong with the concept of roundabouts is explained in a video that was used for presentations in North-America. Several of the roundabouts with priority for cycling – the preferred type in the built-up area – can be seen in the ride in the smaller town of Baarn. Another small town is Vught, the video of a ride there makes clear that even in those smaller towns the cycling infrastructure is mostly in very good order. Yet another ride is very different. A commute in Amsterdam, as filmed by a friend of mine.
All over the world people are campaigning for better cycling conditions. Cycling experts from around the world came to Leeuwarden to the Winter Cycling Congress. I was invited to Russia, to explain about Dutch cycling in Saint Petersburg. I took the opportunity to look at cycling there. There is still a lot of work to do and campaigning is really necessary! That is also the case in Vught, where a reconstruction of a railway line and a motorway give cause for concern about the role of the bicycle in those big projects. A tour along some ‘problem points’ was organised by the local chapter of the Cyclists’ Union.
What many also perceive as a ‘problem’ in this country is parking your bicycle. A ‘problem’ many others would like to have. Municipalities are working together with especially the railways to give people a good place to park their bicycles. I showed examples in Tilburg, Nijmegen and the giant underground bicycle parking facility at the new Delft Central Station.
Finding such facilities is no longer a problem in Utrecht, where the world’s first real-time bicycle parking guidance system was festively opened this year. Utrecht had another innovative project: the Light Companion to lead you to the next green traffic light that was tested on the street. That wasn’t the only outdoor test. The railways asked the general public to test several types of the new OV-Fiets. The obstacle course made the test very appealing to many.
Most of all I showed average people just going about their daily business on their bicycles. There was the Leeuwarden morning rush hour, the people using the Amsterdam Ferries, the evening rush hour in the dark in Utrecht and people riding at lunch time in that same city.
I also gave attention to people’s attire on their bicycle, but that the Dutch way. So I showed you people dressed for Carnival and King’s Day. It is only sometimes that people dress up for riding as seen in Leeuwarden, where people made sure they wouldn’t be cold during their ride.
It is always fun to watch people riding their bicycles. Especially when they ride with their babies and toddlers. Something that you can see on every street and square in The Netherlands. In only a few countries in the world women cycle more than men. The Netherlands is one of these countries. Cycling even improves the cities and it doesn’t matter if the weather is good or if it rains.
That was the round-up of the 57 posts with video, that I created in 2015.
But, for tradition’s sake, let’s also have a look at those lists!
I love the fact that this is a nice mix of innovations, different types of good and bad infrastructure, in different weather conditions, watching people cycling, parking facilities and an exceptionally beautifully designed tunnel. The whole range of topics I find important to show. Very nice that that is exactly what you seem to want to see!
What a pity that two of my personal highlights of the year – my trip to and my presentation in Saint Petersburg in Russia and my presentation at the Winter Cycling Congress in Leeuwarden – are among the least viewed posts. Apparently you rather learn about cycling in The Netherlands in the known format, than about my foreign trips. And that’s okay, this is a blog about Cycling in the Netherlands after all.
Thank you for all your support by visiting the posts, watching the videos and writing comments, here or on Twitter. Again, I met some of my followers in person, which is always great. Others gave me ideas for posts and yet others decided to support me financially with a donation. Which I appreciate very much, espcially because it makes all my travels in the country to go to those film locations possible! So thanks once again and make sure to visit my blog again in 2016! For I do intend to keep on showing you even more Cycling in The Netherlands!