Ride from Rhijnauwen to Utrecht

While I try to keep a promise as much as possible. Sometimes things turn out unexpectedly. I told you that I would warn in advance about my upcoming open heart surgery. Well… when you read this that has already taken place! Last Friday, I heard that my operation could be scheduled on Monday 14 March, because an extra time slot had become available. And so, with only two days notice, I was admitted to hospital last Sunday. It all went remarkably well. And while I recover you can read some posts I had prepared in advance.

For this week a ride I filmed last January, on the same day as the new tunnel in Zeist. In fact, I took a slight detour on my way back from Zeist to the station in Utrecht to film this. There is no particular reason for this ride. I just filmed it to show you some rural and urban infrastructure on a route that I hadn’t shown -much- before.

Map of the ride. The more logical route in Utrecht would have been the blue line, but I knew there were many building activities on that route and I have shown you that route before.

I start the ride on the bridge over the Krommerijn (Crooked Rhine) with a view on what has become of the old castle Rhijnauwen in the municipality of Bunnik. This location was a popular destination for a Sunday afternoon outing for people in Utrecht until about the 1960s. A special city bus line would take people here, but only on good weather Sundays. All Utrecht’s city buses would show a temporary sign on such days to inform people: “Today, bus line A runs to Rhijnauwen”.
Nowadays the vast woods around Rhijnauwen are closed to through traffic. People can just reach the parking lot, the rest should be done on foot, or you could cycle here from the city, the reverse of the ride I show.
It is busy on the road to Rhijnauwen. People still love to walk and cycle in this rural area so close to the city.
In Utrecht the road is appropriately named Weg naar Rhijnauwen (Road to Rhijnauwen). This is where the route connects to the edge of the city.
I took a left turn onto the Weg tot de Wetenschap (Road to Science) which would have taken me to the University campus had I turned right. This is one of the widest cycle routes in Utrecht. Parallel to the cycle path is the grass track for the light rail line to the University. Next to that again is a road way for motor traffic.
I believe the city expects most people to cycle on the other side of this road where the cycleway is bi-directional and has a surface of smooth red asphalt. But I took the right hand side where there is only this old-fashioned narrow one-way cycle track with a surface of not very smooth red concrete tiles. Utrecht does have some outdated infrastructure.
But the outdated infrastructure is then soon followed by the most modern type: a cycle street. This used to be the entrance to a small parking lot. It still is, but drivers are now much more aware that it is also a main cycle route.
The Rubenslaan/Venuslaan route was designed in the 1960s and built in the 1970s. It was part of the same plan as the road I showed in my previous post. In this case the route was mostely finished but for the end part and the connecting side routes were also never built.
At this location the original plans showed a huge intersection. The road to the right was never built and the bridge to the left is therefore much larger than you would expect. In stead of the road new housing was built in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The road also narrows considerably in the distance.
The big road connects to this narrow street. There is barely place for a narrow on-street cycle lane. Fortunately, this is only a very short stretch.
This could be Utrecht’s narrowest on-street cycle lane. This must be the worst part of the route all around the historic city centre that I rode when the water had returned fully in 2020. There are plans to divert most car traffic from this location. When that happens the cycling infrastructure can be updated here.
A bit further down the same road there is a bit more space. The cycle way is wider and there is a minimal protection in the form of kerb stones. This is the closest example of so-called “light protection of cycle lanes” more common in other countries.
This route was also under reconstruciton at the time I filmed this. The cycleway was closed and here road users are warned that cycling will take place on the main road way!
This is the location where the cyceway ends and people are expected to use the road way to cycle on.
To make sure that happens safely there was a traffic warden to stop traffic when necessary. At this location cyclists were expected to cross the road diagonally to use an exisitng two-way cycle track on the other side of the street.
The closed cycle way on the right hand side. Fortunately, this cycle way is perfectly suitable for two-way cycle traffic.
Here the cycling detour leaves the main road, because there is not enough space for two-way cycling in the distance. Since I wanted to go to the station that was not even a detour for me. I would have turned left one street later anyway.
At this location I rejoin the route I would normally take. The yelow signs are temporary and they show people where the detour goes.
The detour takes people straight through the world’s largest bicycle parking garage.
This week’s video; a ride from Rhijnauwen to Utrecht.

11 thoughts on “Ride from Rhijnauwen to Utrecht

  1. Hi Mark, I am so delighted to hear that your operation went well – funnily enough I watched your interview with John Simmermann from Active Towns yesterday, and I was thinking that your op may be about to happen. Please rest up and get well soon!

    I am cycling the entire Ronde van Nederland next month to raise money for the victims of the war in Ukraine – see http://www.cycle4ukraine.com for the details. I pass through Best and Oirschot not far from you on April 20th/21st, so if you are feeling better it would be lovely to ride with you for a while! Do let me know 🙂


  2. It’s very good to hear your operation went well and I hope your recovery goes quickly and well too.

    As a teenager living in Bunnik and going to highschool in Utrecht, my daily bicycle commute was that route through Rhijnauwen.
    A very good start and end to the day, with the chance to relax, see and hear the birds and green landscape. I love the variety in such “coulissen” landscape, with the wooded hedges around the fields and intermingled patches of woods and meadows constantly giving glimpses of new things to look at.
    A few times I even saw some deer along there!

  3. I am so glad your surgery went well. Thank you for this post: It was like a series of still lifes that work together as a film. Nice!

  4. Mark, my best wishes for complete and quick recovery. Thanks for continuing to post.

  5. Another great video. Hope you’re recovering well. Can you tell me if the Utrecht Station has a place to leave bicycle suitcases (from folding bikes) for a few weeks?
    Thanks for posting these.

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