The best thing about cycling is that you have direct contact with other people. Not just eye contact, you can also talk to another road user. In Dutch rush hours it can become very crowded at certain locations. At such times and places things don’t always go right. When I filmed a busy intersection in Utrecht in the last week of August, it struck me that people already said sorry to each other when they made just the slightest mistake. I recorded at least three instances where you could actually hear people apologising for something that didn’t quite went well. Perhaps not what you would expect, especially not on that particular day. I recorded this video on the hottest day of August at almost the hottest time of the day. It was 31 degrees Celsius (87.8F). But instead of getting hot-tempered most people simply cycled on as they always do and they were generally very polite to each other. Cycling is good for a society, in so many ways!
So what’s that about being an ambassador? That cycling is good for a society is what I want to share with the world. That is what this blog and all my videos are about. Cycling is safe, healthy and good for the environment. When there is a lot of cycling there is less noise and the air quality improves. Cycling is cheap and not only for the person cycling. Building cycling infrastructure is also cheap, much cheaper than building for the car and it also takes up far less valuable space of our towns and cities. I am proud of the Dutch cycling culture and I would be happy if some of what we have could also be enjoyed by other people around the world. That is why I have given presentations all over the world; Budapest, Sydney, Saint Petersburg. The first was in cooperation with the Dutch Cycling Embassy. Last Friday this DCE celebrated its 5-year-anniversary. The DCE aims to be:
“an intermediary between the demand for Dutch cycling expertise and Dutch parties that can deliver. The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a public private network for sustainable bicycle inclusive mobility. We represent the best of Dutch Cycling: knowledge, experience and experts offered by private companies, NGO’s, research institutions, national and local governments.”
There was a small role for me in the celebrations. As a news item on the DCE website describes:
“The celebration was kicked off with a lunch and a brief speech about the achievement of DCE from the past five years.
After that, the 50th participant of DCE was welcomed, Mark Wagenbuur from Bicycle Dutch. His blogs and videos about the Dutch cycling culture are well-known, both nationally and internationally. He was also awarded to be an ambassador of Dutch Cycling Embassy, for his efforts to share the Dutch Cycling culture via blogs and videos.
The festival continued with various workshops on cycling highways and cycling behavior.”
So there you have it. I have acted as a cycling ambassador since 2009, but I have now also been officially recognised to be just that. What will this mean exactly? Well, I don’t even know myself, really. I am not planning to change anything about my blog. I have made things a bit more professional. There is an official main address now: www.bicycledutch.nl and I opened an e-mail address; email@example.com. You may see some of my videos used on the website of the DCE in future and I might accept an invitation to speak somewhere about cycling in the Netherlands (but I already did that anyway). What is really good for me is that I can forward many of the questions I get to the DCE. They are far better at giving a good contact for the best bicycle parking rack or a good road designer than I am able to do. I will continue to do my best to share knowledge and images about cycling in the Netherlands on this blog in a way that is easy to understand and attractive for a large audience. That I now have a ‘seal of approval’ and recognition of the official Dutch institute that does the same professionally, means a lot to me.
Cycling rush hour in the summer heat in Utrecht