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The route was 13 miles ( 21 km ) long and typically it would take 50 - 55 minutes for me to cycle to work. The route was mainly along the busy and unpleasant A10. There was a shared use path alongside, but as is normal in the UK this was a bad joke, it had never been more than 60 cm or so wide, was overgrown with, and grown through by, weeds, often blocked, and it gave way to every possible side road. As is normal in the UK, I generally stuck to the road despite the 60 mph / 100 km/h speed limit. I also had to stop for a lot of traffic lights and negotiate some large roundabouts in order to get to work, so my average speed of 14 - 15 mph ( 22 km/h ) was actually not that bad under the circumstances.
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Note that the route isn't quite correct as I can't convince Google Maps to get it right
My current commute is from Assen to Groningen. It's a distance of 30 km ( 18.6 miles ). 40% longer than the old commute.
|Part of my route as it passes through|
a village. This cycle-path is 2.5 m
wide and unidirectional. It also
features on our study tours - that's
why these people are talking to me.
My commute time is if anything slightly less now than it was back in 1995. It took under 50 minutes both ways on Thursday and Friday, an average of 36 km/h or 22 mph. Today I worked an extra day for the test ride day, and took it easy coming home. This resulted in a 55 minute ride home.
Being 43 years old instead of 29 surely ought to count against me, but there's no doubt that I'm commuting somewhat faster now than I used to. Of course, it does help to have a somewhat quicker bike, but it would be a fair bit faster here on any bike. A lot of the difference is due to being able to get up to speed and keep it. Cyclists benefit enormously from cycle routes being unravelled from driving routes so that hold-ups caused by motor vehicles don't affect bikes.
Longer distance cycle commuting is so much more practical here than in the UK, so it's hardly surprising that long distance commuting by bike is also so much more popular here than in the UK. While in Britain less than 1% of all journeys of any length are by bicycle and most of those cycle journeys are very short, the Dutch cycle 15% of their journeys between 7.5 km and 15 km and 3% of their journeys over 15 km. 3% may not sound like much, but this is a measure of long journeys only, excluding the more popular short journeys.
A network of long distance, direct and convenient cycle-paths designed to enable long distance cycle commuting are currently being constructed (called "fietsrouteplus" and "fietsnelwegen").
Read other posts about cycling quickly in the Netherlands.