What a Summer the one of 2019 is… The arctic is burning in an unprecedented way, there was a second heatwave in Europe, breaking records on two consecutive days and still there are people who deny humans are to blame for these extremes and climate change. Don’t I have anything positive to share this week? I just might.
So, what is the good news? Well, not that it is really news, but the Dutch didn’t stop cycling. Not even when on 25 July records were broken in five western European countries, including The Netherlands where the new record was measured in the town of Gilze en Rijen, reaching an incredible 40.7C (105.3F). It was the first time ever that temperatures in The Netherlands reached that 40 degree mark. That had not happened since the official weather statistics started in 1901, but also not since the first uninterrupted measures took place from 1706 (in Zwanenburg and Utrecht/De Bilt). Now the temperature reached over 40 degrees in 5 of the 12 Dutch provinces on one single day. I had passed through Gilze en Rijen earlier that day on my way back from Brussels. The town is just about 35 kms from ʼs-Hertogenbosch where the local record was measured at 16:45 (4:45pm) at 39.9C or 103.82F!
Since that time is right at the beginning of the evening rush hour I decided to look whether the Dutch, more precise; the people of ʼs-Hertogenbosch, would still keep on riding. Of course they did! It is the same as with rain and snow in the evening rush hour: if you went to work or school in the morning on your bicycle, you have to come back on that vehicle too of course. I filmed near the central station in a street with trees. According to the Dutch heat map that part of ʼs-Hertogenbosch is an area where the average heat is “only” 1.81 degrees Celsius higher than the average outside the city (thanks to those trees) although it is located right inside the hottest part of the city. Since the official temperature was measured in an area of the city that has a temperature of +1.1 on average, it is safe to say these people were cycling in a temperature of a little over 40 degrees Celsius, as if that was a normal thing to do.
For its human cause, this was not a record to be proud of, but at least the continued cycling was behaviour to be proud of.
Cycling in the hottest evening rush hour on record.