The finished fast cycle route Tilburg – Waalwijk

A colourful procession of people on city bicycles, tandems, e-bikes, cargo bikes, public transport bicycles and racing bikes opened a fast cycle route last July. Together they symbolised that the F261 fast cycle route from Tilburg to Waalwijk is there for all sorts of people on all sorts of bicycles who can use the route for all sorts of reasons.

billet en français

An underground style map at the railway station of Tilburg shows the route from there and the connection with other (planned) fast cycle routes in this part of the province of Noord-Brabant.
Between Tilburg and Loon op Zand the route is partly on inter-urban cycle streets. Even though this is outside the built-up area the speed limit was chosen to be 30km/h which is not usual but very good.

The first part of the F261 was opened in 2019. I showed that in an earlier post. On 8 July 2021 the parade of cyclists celebrated the opening of the entire route. The parade had started in Waalwijk and the participants cycled the full 16 kilometers of the route via Loon op Zand to Tilburg.

The route has few obstacles and cycling has priority at intersections as much as possible. It is not the speed of cycling that makes this route ‘fast’, the fact that there are so few stopping points is what makes the average speed higher. Convenience and comfort are more important than actual speed. Everything combined makes a cycling journey very pleasant.

An intersection in Loon op Zand was reconstructed since I was last here in 2020. Cycling now has priority.
This was a country road in 2020 starting on the edge of Loon op Zand, but it is now a country road with a separate cycle path alongside of it.

The full route cost 22 million euros and is part of a larger plan for fast cycle routes in the Province of Noord-Brabant. The province paid 13 million euros. The three municipalities in which this route is located shared the remaining 9 million euros considering their size and the length of the route in that municipality.

In Loon op Zand, about halfway, the parade halted for an official opening moment. Together with the project leader, representatives of the province and the three municipalities formed the name of this fast cycle route, F261.

On behalf of the province, Christophe van der Maat told the press that he was very proud of the good cooperation between the different authorities. “This plan took shape 3.5 years ago. We worked together to get to this point today where we can open the entire route. The F261 is the first of 9 routes that the province recently has made agreements for with the different municipalities. It is good to see that the fast cycle route network of the province is growing steadily.”

Tilburg uses a different sign for a cycle street than Loon op Zand does (see the second picture in this post). It is high time a standard sign was picked for a Cycle Street (Fietsstraat) in the Netherlands and made legal.
Another strange difference became clear at the municipal border. Apparently a different contractor printed the brick pattern in the asphalt median. Tilburg printed 5 rows of bricks, Loon op Zand printed only 4.
The route is briefly interrupted when a high-voltage power line crosses the route. I could not find a reason. It may be that this part of road is managed by another road authority, but that is pure speculation on my part.

The province would like to see that larger organisations alongside the route will stimulate their employees to use the bicycle more often to get to work. Two such employers have programs to achieve that; the theme park Efteling, which employs about 2,400 people and the hospital Twee Steden Ziekenhuis, with locations both in Tilburg and Waalwijk, which offers jobs to over 5,000 people.

Alderman Ronald Bakker of Waalwijk cycled along in the parade. He mentioned that Waalwijk is very happy with the fast cycle route: “It makes it a bit easier again to take the bicycle to get to work and not the car. Our industrial zones cannot easily be reached by public transport, but we don’t want to see endless rows of parked cars there. As a municipality it is our task to make cycling more attractive and cycling is a lot healthier too.”

The lower experimental signs have unfortunately been rejected. The taller signs will replace them all, just like at this location.
Tilburg has removed these information panels. They were still present in Loon op Zand. I really like these clear panels that also show a “you are here”. Hopefully such signs can be allowed in some form. They are completely new signage so I don’t understand how they could confuse people.

Experimental signage was developed for this route. Several types were tested from 2018, which I wrote about in an earlier post. When the first part was opened the preferred new signs were used. Unfortunately, the board that supervises all signage in the Netherlands rejected the new signs that most people, including me, preferred. Those signs can still be seen at several locations, but they will have to be replaced with signage that is approved.

I cycled the new route from Tilburg to Kaatsheuvel. I added this new video to the 10 minute part that was finished earlier, so the video in this post now shows the entire route from Tilburg to Waalwijk in real-time.

The first video is a report on the most recent parts of the route.

My report on the final part of the F261 from Tilburg to Waalwijk
A ride on the 16 km long F261 from Tilburg to Waalwijk in real-time



7 thoughts on “The finished fast cycle route Tilburg – Waalwijk

  1. “It makes it a bit easier again to take the bicycle to get to work and not the car.
    Our industrial zones cannot easily be reached by public transport.
    But we don’t want to see endless rows of parked cars there.
    As a municipality it is our task to make cycling more attractive.
    And cycling is a lot healthier too.”

    This prose (English translation – yours Mark?) reads like *actual* poetry to my ears. And not just for what it says (oh that I will ever hear an Australian transport authority utter anything like it!)
    Hence I rearranged it a bit into a (IMO) more deserving, poetic form.

    1. Yes, that is my translation, thanks, but I would do it differently now that I look at it again. I don’t know why I changed “prefer not to see” in “don’t want to see”. And “we must help” in “it is our task”. Similar, but not quite the same. Here’s the original Dutch text if you want to run it through a translation service.

      Het maakt het weer een stukje makkelijker om de auto te laten staan en de fiets te pakken. Daar komt bij dat onze bedrijventerreinen niet goed bereikbaar zijn met het OV en bermen vol auto’s zien we liever niet. Als gemeente moeten we helpen om fietsen aantrekkelijker te maken. Daarnaast is fietsen natuurlijk ook gewoon een stuk gezonder.

      If you would, you’ll see that I also missed an ‘of course’ and a ‘simply’ in the final sentence. Which would make it even stronger as:

      And cycling is of course simply a lot healthier too.

    1. I don’t think it has any other meaning than to make the route recognisable. On a road it indicates a speed limit, but that is not applicable to cycling.

  2. Hello Mark,

    How does the numbering system for the snelfietsroutes work on a provincial or national basis? As in, why F261 instead of F2? I would think that the snelroute would be a lower order number, but perhaps I’m applying highway logic in a situation where that doesn’t make sense? Or maybe there are so many that larger numbers are needed?


    1. Highway logic is exactly right. They get the number of the parallel highway. In this case that is the N261. So people know where the cycle route goes, when they know where the N261 goes they also know where the F261 goes.

  3. The two-way portion in the first part seemed to have a lot of crossing streets and driveways for a two-way. My understanding was that two-way was only allowed where there were very few such crossings.

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