For my fifth and last ride in the series “from Market to Market” I cycled to the Markt of Waalwijk. The starting point was again the Markt of ʼs-Hertogenbosch. This ride is 20.8 kilometres long and it took me an hour and two minutes. Again I cycled with an average speed of 20 km/h. In both Waalwijk and ʼs-Hertogenbosch we see a variety of types of Dutch cycling infrastructure, ranging from on-street cycle lanes, cycle streets and service streets to modern bi-directional cycleways, but in the country side it is one very long stretch of a bi-directional cycleway alongside a canal. Ships cannot use this canal. It was dug between 1907 to 1911 for one reason only: to prevent flooding of the city of ʼs-Hertogenbosch. It leads surplus water from south of ʼs-Hertogenbosch to the larger rivers, bypassing the city. Since this canal was dug the city centre of ʼs-Hertogenbosch has never been flooded again. Because of the purpose of the canal it stays well away from places where people live. That means you get to cycle in an area that seems deserted. An exceptional experience in a country that belongs to the most densely populated in the world.
In Waalwijk the route connects to a recent bi-directional cycleway on an old railway line. This one track railway line was used until the 1970s, to get supplies to the leather industry and the shoe making industry in this region. Much of the line – that ran all the way to ʼs-Hertogenbosch – could perhaps be used like this to create a shorter and fast cycle route from Waalwijk to ʼs-Hertogenbosch. Where the railway line runs through a protected nature area nowadays, it could be diverted. It would then serve more residential areas. After which it could connect to the fast cycle route from Vlijmen to ʼs-Hertogenbosch, which already exists for some years. I showed you that route earlier. The distance of this new route would be about 2 kilometres shorter than the route I show you in this post. Since it would pass more residential areas it would be great for all the people living there to be able to reach Waalwijk or ʼs-Hertogenbosch by bike in a faster and more convenient way. There already are cycle paths to reach both cities, but a new route would have a higher quality standard. The new route is still in an early development stage. The municipalities were investigating the possibilities in the first half of 2016. Until that route is finished, one of the many existing alternatives is the route you will see now.