The photo shows the first cycle path in the Netherlands, along the Maliebaan in Utrecht, the first home of the ANWB.
This cycle path was created in September 1885 by the ANWB ( Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijders Bond ) - the organisation which still erects many directional signs for cyclists, even though it's a little more car oriented these days.
The sign says that the development of the path came about "at the request of fourty four members of the ANWB, including one woman." Also, it was intended from the beginning to be suitable for the sport of cycle racing, continuing a tradition of the Maliebaan which was created initially as a path for the sport of Malie and starting a new tradition of cycle paths in this country being suitable for use at speed.
The ANWB itself was formed in 1883, changing its name to the ANWB a little later. Three of the leading lights in the early movement were Willem Einthoven, who later won a Nobel prize for medicine for inventing the electrocardiogram, a banker called Everard Kol and an Englishman, Charles Bingham, who had been involved with a local CTC group in the UK and found no equivalent when he moved to the Netherlands.
If you are interested in more of the early history of cycling in the Netherlands, you may find this article in English to be of interest.
It goes through the history of this early enthusiasm, the peak of enthusiasm in the 1920s and 1930s, and the sad decline in the motoring oriented 1950s and 1960s when cycle paths were removed in some Dutch cities to make more space for cars. Most of the current infrastructure dates from the 1970s and later.
Again, I owe thanks to Mark Wagenbuur for the suggestion of this piece and use of his photos. He says "Isn't it curious that our Wielrijdersbond was created by Englishmen after an English example... And here you are over a century later thoroughly enjoying what since became our cycling culture." Indeed so !
A later post includes a video of riding along this cycle path.
Mark previously provided details of his multi-modal commute, including details of the vast amount of cycle parking at Utrecht railway station.
Blindness to motor traffic
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