Cycling from Tilburg to Oisterwijk (again)

My ride for this week’s post is on a familiar route. I rode from Tilburg to Oisterwijk again, just like I did almost 10 years ago, on a route that was then already decades old. In the previous video, published in January 2012, I started at the station of Tilburg. This time, I started at the entrance of the underground bicycle parking garage in the city centre. Most of the route is still exactly as it was a decade ago, but in Oisterwijk some parts of the surfaces were redone.

Billet en français

The over 40 year old cycle route from Tilburg to Oisterwijk is a very rural route. At this location it could do with a good sweeping. The usable width is reduced too much by all the (dead) green on the right hand side.

I was not able to find an exact date of construction for this route, but it was an extension of the first experimental route in Tilburg which was built in 1976/1977. The first part of the route to Oisterwijk, next to the railway line in Tilburg, was indeed finished in 1977. Some later sources claim the entire route was built in 1976, but that is not true. I found proof of that in an evaluation report from the national government which was written in 1977. Since the national government had paid the entire route in Tilburg, they wanted to evaluate how beneficial it had been. The extensions to Berkel-Enschot and Oisterwijk are mentioned in that report, but they had not been constructed at that time. The decision to build the route to Oisterwijk (and to also finance it 100% by the national government) was taken on 23 March 1977. The route must have been constructed shortly after that decision, so in 1977 or maybe 1978. It makes the route well over 40 years old now.

The part alongside Spoorlaan is the oldest part of the route and part of the original demonstration cycle route in Tilburg.
These drawings are from an evaluation report from 1977. It shows how the route was planned right next to the railway tracks.
This is the onramp to the viaduct over the east ring road of Tilburg. It can been seen on the right hand side of the drawing above.

That first part of the route, in the municipality of Tilburg, had been quite an undertaking. The route runs parallel to the railway but crosses the east circular ring road and a canal. A bridge and a viaduct were designed right next to the dike on which the railway runs, but, as the cross sections from the evaluation show, that dike had to be changed considerably. That made this part one of the most expensive sections of the Tilburg demonstration route at 1.4 million guilders. (Which is comparable to 3.72 million euros today.) The cost for an underpass in the city is not stated in the report, but that must have been very expensive too.

Combining the cycle track with the railway tracks on the same dike was not easy. The railway dike had to be widened considerably. Above the old situations and below the new situations at two locations in the Spoorlaan in Tilburg.
The bridge over the Wilhelminakanaal was designed right next to the existing railway bridge. It was newly constructed when the cycle route was built here in 1976/1977.
Some more cross sections and a map of the route until where it splits (right) into a route to Berckel-Enschot (crossing the bottom railway and going north(-east) and a route to Oisterwijk (to the east).

It was nice to compare the state of the route with how it was 10 years ago. Not much changed, but just outside Tilburg the route could do with a sweeping. The fallen autumn leaves made it a bit too narrow. I trust that will be done soon enough. Some real changes were made in the municipality of Oisterwijk. I noticed this right away, because the asphalt was no longer red and there were lines at the edge of the path. That is very modern, so I knew that had to be recent. The stills from the video of the former ride show that this part was indeed resurfaced. At one location the route got a lot greener, but a short distance later a line of trees was removed. Those trees didn’t look old, but it still surprised me they had been removed.

The Oisterwijksebaan with the (possibly) original surface of red asphalt that had some patches here and there as it was in 2012.
After 2012 the route has been resurfaced with black asphalt. The lines on the edge help people to better see where the asphalt ends. A lot of accidents happen because people get off the track to the sides and fall. There is a new hedge between cycleway and roadway. There is also a lot more green on the private land to the right.
A bit further down the same Oisterwijksebaan the route used to have a line of (young) trees between the cycleway and the roadway. Here too, some patches in the red asphalt.
The exact same location in 2021. The surface is much nicer and I do like the hedge, but I find it regrettable that the trees have disappeared. There is a tendency to remove trees alongside country roads because they would be dangerous for drivers. I would argue that they wouldn’t be for drivers who adhere to the safe maxiumum speeds and that they also help drivers to keep their speeds low enough.
Sometimes you do find motorvehicles on the cycleway. In this case someone was doing maintenance on the railway. The cycleway is fortunately wide enough to make it safely possible to pass such vehicles.

One intersection – with priority for cycling over a rather busy road – is currently under reconstruction in Oisterwijk. The sign to announce the works was already there when I filmed this ride about a month ago.

A local newspaper reports: “Despite earlier adjustments, which have had some effect, the crossing of the cycle route with Baerdijk is still considered to be a dangerous point. This regularly causes problems at the location where busy bicycle traffic and car traffic to and from the centre intersect. Research by our editors has shown that the stop signs are frequently ignored by motorists. ‘Attention signs’, placed a few years ago, had no significant effect.”

A spokesperson for the municipality said: We want to make this crossing safer by widening the central refuge space, installing clearly different paving materials and a green-colored part for the cycle path.

Isn’t it interesting that it is always motor traffic and especially the behaviour of drivers that force cycling infrastructure to be adapted? In this case the standard red paving for the cycleway has apparently lost its attention value and so the municipality is now going to try green. Let’s hope that does make a difference. This intersection is indeed the most unpleasant in the entire route! I will have to visit again later, to see how the crossing changed.

The sign reads “This cyclepath [will be] closed from Mon. 1-11-2021 to Fr. 26-11-2021”. This intersection was to be reconstructed to make it safer for cycling. Drivers do not always stop for the stop signs. When I crossed a driver did do that decently.
End of my ride. The street in the town centre of Oisterwijk. Straight ahead the old town hall building. To the left an old bandstand.

All in all, this is still a very nice and quick route as it has been in the past 40 years. I rode the length of the route, 9.2kms, in 26.5 minutes, which is roughly 21 km/h, or much faster than usual. (Especially with my heart condition this was surprising to me too, but I did have a strong wind in my back).

My ride from the centre of Tilburg to the centre of Oisterwijk.

Enjoy the ride!

5 thoughts on “Cycling from Tilburg to Oisterwijk (again)

  1. Once again a successful video. I watch almost all the videos, the quality is very very good. Are you still filming with the GoPro 8 or 9? Or have you bought another camera in the meantime?

        1. Another fine video, thanks Mark. Inspirational as always.
          So relaxing to watch smooth progress with almost no stops.
          Maybe one day we will have 1/4 as good infrastructure in UK, if our planners could learn from the Dutch.

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