BICYCLE DUTCH

All about cycling in the Netherlands

A winter ride

Snow is becoming increasingly rare in this country, because of the climate change obviously. I did show you quite a bit of snow a little over one year ago, but the last time we had snow before that had been 2015. And yes, I do show you the snow almost every time we have it. Last night’s snow may not even qualify as “snow” to many. If you’re from a country where heavy snowfall is more common you’d probably call this a light dusting. We Dutch, on the other hand, were very exited by it and I even went for a night walk at 01:00 am to experience walking in fresh snow. There was still some of it left in the morning and the city had obviously been clearing the roads and cycle paths, like they normally do, so I decided that this was interesting enough to show you in this extra post.

There may not have been much snow left after hours of temperatures above the freezing point, but you can still clearly see that the road and the cycle paths were cleaned. (The oncoming cycleway is on the other side of the hedge on the left hand side.)

This is a main cycle route from north to south that is cleared of snow and ice. The small residential streets on either side are not and the difference is striking. The footpath on the right hand side did also not get cleared.

Those vehicular cyclists in some other countries, who are so against separate cycleways, should maybe talk to this guy about his experiences. Doesn’t look like he is suffering much from “being sent” to this cycleway on his sunday morning training round. A cycleway that was cleared of snow and ice.

The routes of the snow clearing vehicles do not always follow the cycle routes. Here you can see that two snow clearing routes take a turn to either side, leaving some residual snow in the middle, while the main cycle route goes straight-on. In the foreground to the left you can see that a bit of the grass next to the cycleway was hit. The drivers of the vehicles navigate on satellites, (since they can’t see where the cycle tracks are under the snow) but they are sometimes a little off.

Because the footpaths are not cleared many pedestrians chose to walk on the cleared cycleway. You cannot blame them and I doubt anybody really thinks badly about it.

This is a roundabout with priority for cycling, which is the standard in the Netherlands, although there is a decreasing number of municipalities still fighting these priority rules. The cycleway is also bi-directional, the car was stopped to give me that priority (a bit late and on the zebra crossing, but the driver did stop just in time).

That’s how well the streets are cleared of the melting snow and ice. This young man had no trouble using his skate board on the cleared cycleway.

An unusual intersection with almost no separation between the roadway and the cycleway for about 20 metres. That’s not very protected. Another disadvantage of this design becomes clear in the snow. You can see that the car wheels make a mess on the cycleway when they cross it.

This ride was made on a Sunday morning, but this truck had just been used to make deliveries at a grocery store. The driver was backing out of the parking bay for deliveries. The driver could obviously never see me so I chose to wait until he cleared the cycleway. When the coast was clear another person on a bicycle and me crossed straight away, before the driver pulled out again.

The snow is clearly not completely removed, not the full width of the cycleways I mean. The cycleway is wider than the cleared path. That is why you have to be a bit more carefull with oncoming people and when you pass other people, walking or cycling.

With only the roadway and the cycleway without snow the crossing becomes even clearer than usual. This cycleway is one-way at this location. There is an identical cycleway on the other side of the street.

It may seem odd that nothing is done to remove snow from the footway, but that is just how it is. Not even the bus stop is cleared. Only in the city centre some “main walking routes” do get cleaned.

This intersection in the historic city centre is the most unpleasant one for cycling in the city. The city council had decided that the bridge in the foreground would be closed to motor traffic, to improve the situation for walking and cycling here, but the current council has second thoughts and is delaying this, which angers for instance the local environmentally consious and left-wing party. The last word is not said about this yet.

After a short stretch of shared 30km/h streets the rest of the centre is closed to cars. They are kept out with these moveable “bollards”. Cycling is allowed in the pedestrianised city centre,

In the city centre there are a number of main walking routes. For instance from the station to the city centre, or here on the main market square. Those walking routes are cleared of snow and ice with special, smaller, vehicles. The difference to the area that was not treated is very clear.

The end of this trip at city hall near my home.

I cycled the 5 kilometres of this ride all through the city (north to south) in 19 minutes. Which means I had a very slow average speed of 16km/h. Even with the short delay for the truck to clear the way that is still a lot slower than usual. So I did cycle a bit more carefull in the winter conditions. (Map: Routeplanner Fietsersbond)

Video of this winter ride.

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10 comments on “A winter ride

  1. Candace
    26 December 2018

    We got some freshies here in Bozeman, Montana this morning. Last winter was epic. One night I rode home in 10″ of snow. Today we only had 2-3″ but it was still fun. Cycle tracks were not totally cleared and streets were snow covered. It requires a fat bike or bike with oversized tires with studs. Still a ton of fun.

  2. dhdaines
    21 December 2018

    It is quite shocking to see bus stops not have snow removed from them while the bike path is cleared! Here in Montréal this would result in a parade of angry citizens at the local council meeting, letters to the editor, etc. Even though the city prioritizes public transit access, which is a good policy, occasionally the bike path does get cleared first, and people notice…

  3. Brian
    17 December 2018

    Where I live in Wales, UK rarely gets snow also, so I get equally excited and enjoy walking in it, but when surfaces get icy then it is not so fun and I too can understand pedestrians walking on the most cleared path, whether it be the road or a cycle-way; we all just have to take extra care.

  4. daimahou
    17 December 2018

    Here in Szekszárd, Hungary the snow decided to fall from Friday night to Sunday so I wonder if they are clearing the snow from the cycle path this Monday morning…

    were very exited by – > excited
    environmentally consious and left-wing – > conscious

  5. branko7
    17 December 2018

    In my city we don’t have bicycle roads at all , that’s why we don’t have that problems:(
    Greetings from cold rainy Split, Croatia.

  6. Sven
    17 December 2018

    I want to have your problems. In Germany, here in Essen, the cycleway not cleared from snow. The most town administrations are waiting until the snow is melted.

  7. Raving Cyclist
    17 December 2018

    You say the snow clearing vehicles navigate on satellites. Are they unmanned?
    Nice snowy ride. Plenty fast enough for me.

    • Bicycle Dutch
      17 December 2018

      No, I meant the drivers can’t see where the cycle tracks are under the snow, so they have satellite navigation to tell them that, but sometimes that is just not precise enough and they get a bit next to the track. (I changed the text slightly to make that more clear.)

  8. Ltrw
    17 December 2018

    How did the ride compare with the summer? Were you uncomfortable? Cold on the face?

    Personally, I would never ride with wet ground with temperatures near OC. Too much risk of a catastrophic injury! I know because I had one! I’m ok for the most part now except my arm was in pain recently. This is years after the fall on ice.

  9. Pingback: A winter ride | BICYCLE DUTCH – Go Cycling

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This entry was posted on 17 December 2018 by in Original posts and tagged , , , .

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