Maarten Sneep suggested I should include his photo of the bicycle highway along the Amsterdam Rijn Kanaal, from Utrecht to Amsterdam. He says:
"This is a "Auto te Gast" route, about 5 m wide. The dark strips on the side are "bricks" (made of the same meterial as the rest of the road), but they make a good noise in cars that have to drive on them. The photograph was taken near Maarssen railway station, looking north."
"It is unfortunate that the connection to this cycling path in Utrecht is a bit awkward, but otherwise it is a great commute over this path. I know that a few Quest riders use this path to go from Utrecht to Amsterdam, perhaps not on a daily basis, but a few times a week at least: 50+ km one way."
"Auto te gast" means that cars are guests on this road. For more information, see posts about the bicycle road within Assen. Bicycles have priority over cars, which are rare because it's not a through route by car. This is an example of infrastructure which gives cyclists a better route than drivers.
I should point out that this is hundreds of kilometres from Assen. Good quality infrastructure in the Netherlands is not just concentrated in a few small areas, but spread across the whole country. Most intercity bicycle highways do not allow cars at all but it was necessary to allow vehicles for access in this location.
The Quest that he refers to is an extremely fast faired velomobile. It's been featured several times on my blog before. If you want to commute quickly in all weathers, a velomobile is the way to do it. I made a video of riding in this location with a group of velomobiles.
Click for more posts which show examples of cycle facilities emphasizing the convenience and speed of cyclists. A glimpse of Utrecht itself, a different way of getting to work there, and the amazing number of bikes parked at the railway station is seen here.
Beauty vs Function
2 days ago