On Thursday it was -6 C and snowing as I left home. I set off anyway, on surfaces which varied over the 30 km of my commute. Our road was quite snowy, so progress was slow. The canal cycle path had recently been plowed, but it was a bit slushy due to more snow having fallen. The same was true of much of the rest of the distance, but half way it greatly improved. I followed a wonderfully clear path, and even stopped and took a photo of it. However I then caught up with the snow plow, which was itself stuck in snow. After this the surfaces got a bit worse. It was clear that the attempts to clear snow were not quite working.
It took an hour and fifty minutes to get to work. Twice as long as usual, and it was quite hard work. The Mango picked up quite a bit of snow along the way to work. Harry got a nice photo of it just after arrival.
As we worked, the snow continued and attempts to clear it were only temporary. The snowfall was actually quite heavy for this area. 30 cm fell in some places.
It was quite clear that the normally very comprehensive gritting and ploughing of the cycle paths was not working as well as usual, and I was concerned about how long it would take to get home by bike.
A delivery had to be made in Assen, so I drove the Sinner van home on Thursday evening. It was the first time I'd driven in over two years. I'm not that keen on driving, but due to concerns about whether the paths and roads would be clear I happily took the chance to drive. It took over an hour. Longer than it usually takes to cycle.
On Friday morning I drove back to work. This time the roads were mostly quite clear, and apart from getting lost in Groningen due to only knowing the route by bike, it was a straightforward commute. After work I returned home in the Mango, and made reasonable time. An hour and 15 minutes. Most of the cycle paths were pretty clear, but I did have a bit of fun on slippery stuff along the way. I was soon down to two layers as it was simply too hot with my fleece on.
Judy got some photos from the city centre and of snowballing outside our home. My daughter's friends arrived by bike as usual.
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The less positive stuff What not to do if you want a cycling "revolution" - Long list of interventions and policies which are not helpful. Copy the best examples from the Netherlands - a short list summarising the above. Important to copy the best examples, not just anything "Dutch". Bear in mind that the Netherlands is not perfect. Shared Space - this much hyped idea simply does not work well. It disenfranchises the vulnerable and claims of safety are exaggerated. Don't confuse the concept with far more successful nearly car free streets. Shared Use Paths designed to be used by pedestrians and cyclists together. These rarely work well because the two user groups are too different and it leads to conflicts. They are not built in the Netherlands (but cycle access to pedestrianized zones is good). Strict (or presumed) liability - If you think this is an important part of why people cycle in the Netherlands then it is probably not what you think it is. Helmets - one of several ways of scaremongering about the supposed dangers of what is actually a very safe means of transport
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A cyclist in a cycling family living in the capital of the cycling province of the world's greatest cycling country.
I was born in the UK, lived for over 8 years in New Zealand and have lived in the Netherlands since 2007.
I organise cycling infrastructure study tours, run an online bicycle shop, arrange cycling holidays and write a popular blog about cycling.
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