Cycling onto the Dafne Schippersbrug

It is exactly 6 months in use today; the cycle bridge atop a school. For the bridge, as well as the woman it was named after, those 6 months have been very successful. Let’s have another look at the Dafne Schippersbrug in this “short-post-week”.

The Dafne Schippersbrug. Still from the video about how this project developed by the city of Utrecht.

The bridge continues to draw a lot of attention all over the world. A lot of people have also come to see it in person. I have already taken quite a number of visitors there myself this summer: a journalist from Sweden, two groups of students from the US, a group of cycling enthusiasts from Ireland and one with legislators from Germany. The locals simply use the bridge to get from A to B. Of the expected 7,000 people, already over 4,000 are indeed using the bridge on a daily basis. That number is growing further.

A proud Dafne Schippers on the official opening day of “her” bridge. Still from the video about how this project developed by the city of Utrecht.

Not all the locals are that impressed though. The Hackney Cyclist noted in the Google Reviews that one local wrote: “It’s just a bridge”.

The official opening took place on 13 May. Naturally, Dafne Schippers opened it herself. It was a day full of running activities. The city of Utrecht made a very nice video looking back on the entire project from 2014 to 2017 (unfortunately only in Dutch, but most of the images speak for themselves).

People moving into the new houses that were built on the left-over space. The new bridge and school take up less space than the old schools that were here before.

Some things have changed in the past six months. The 15 houses that could be built in the left-over space have been finished and people are living or have just starting living there. The sign, explaining the name of the bridge, had to be changed. It used to read “Dafne Schippers 1992-… Utrecht athlete, won the championships athletics (women’s 200 metres) in 2015”. However, on 11 August this year, on the 2017 World Championships in London, Dafne won again! Making that sign “outdated”. This was cause for a Utrecht resident to joke on Twitter: “Where can I report something that wasn’t maintained well enough?”

The local newspaper immediately asked the city what they were going to do about it, to which the answer was; “We’ll update the sign!” and indeed, the following day the city had already simply added “and 2017” to the sign!

Days after Dafne Schippers won her new world title, the sign explaining the bridge’s name was updated. Directly after “Won in 2015” the city simply added “and 2017”.

The bridge is part of the park that had to be adapted to it. It seems the goal of the landscape designers was met very well.

“In this design the goal was to keep the original park as big as possible. Most trees could be spared. The park is a continuous green space. All new elements are integrated carefully into the landscape. The bowl-shaped area within the bicycle loop demanded extra attention. The loop can be accessed by an opening under the bridge near the schoolyard. Inside the bowl lies a sunny sport court. This makes the bowl a distinctive part of the entire complex.”

The access ramp to the bridge curls around a playing area for children.

I looked at that “bowl” – and the people cycling around it – one lovely summer afternoon, to see that the Dafne Schippersbrug is used very well indeed. Enjoy the video!

This week’s video: people cycling onto the Dafne Schippersbrug.


7 thoughts on “Cycling onto the Dafne Schippersbrug

  1. How is climate there for casual bicycling from mid-October to November? If one dresses appropriately can bicycling be enjoyable at this time of year?

    1. One can enjoy bicycling in basically any clear weather when dressed appropriately. Warm gloves, hats, and boots allow cycling even in the coldest winters in Canada (even at -20 C where I live) because the act of cycling keeps you warm. Warm gloves, boots, and hats are only required to cover the extremities from the wind.

      The only requirement is that the infrastructure be maintained, the snow must be plowed, and ice must be controlled. However, even when this is not done, much of the winter is still available for cycling because it is usually clear, only after precipitation is maintenance required.

    2. The Netherlands has a very mild climate. On average, maybe 20 days of light snow in winter (spread between mid-december and mid-february), less then 10 days where the maximum temperature doesn’t exceed 0 celcius.

      There’s rain and wind in October and November, but nothing that would stop it from being enjoyable in general. However, if your planning a cycle tour through the Netherlands and you have free choice of season, i’d opt for a better time.

    3. I agree with Jan and Daniel. Only strong head winds and crosswinds can make cycling miserable in the Netherlands.

      1. And it also depends where you go in the Netherlands as well. The more coastal areas tend to be quite a bit windier, but with a milder climate overall. Between the opposite sides of the country, there can be notable differences in the weather, such as Zeeland vs. Overijssel or Groningen for instance.

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