The video shows the first part of my ride home from work a few evenings back. My route takes me from the industrial estate on the South East of Groningen towards the south, so I don't see the numbers of bikes that you see during rush hour in the centre of the city. Also it was a wet and windy day.
My route is around 30 km in length, about 28 km of which is on cycle paths, not roads. Normally my commute takes about 50-55 minutes - an average speed of 33 - 36 km/h. This is a far higher speed that I averaged on a shorter commute using roads in the UK, but naturally not as high a speed as I can average when racing on a closed circuit. This time I spent more time on the roads than usual because of the road works. The road work signs actually told cyclists to use the normally unidirectional 2.5 m wide cycle path on the other side of the street as a bidirectional cycle path, but I instead rode on the road for a while before going back on the normal cycle path.
In the video I edited out almost all the bits where nothing is happening, but left in every interaction with another cyclist or driver. While many kilometres of cycle path are edited out, most of the time I was on road is still in the video.
The velomobile parked outside the shop at the start of the video belongs to Marcel Prins. We had an interesting, though short (it was time to go home) conversation and he had some complaints about the route he took to Groningen from Leeuwarden. Nothing's perfect, of course, including conditions for cycling in the Netherlands. Personally, I find that the surfaces are not so smooth and that I get lost when I head west into Friesland as the signage seems not to work so well either. However, it's all relative.
Much of what is "bad" here would still be pretty good by the standards of many other countries, both with regards to infrastructure and the behaviour of drivers on the roads. While this sortof thing happened to me fairly frequently when riding in the UK, it's never happened here.
For those who think the first video doesn't look enough like Rush Hour (even though that's exactly what it is), here's another video of leaving the centre of Groningen at roughly the same time:
You've read the blog, now see it for yourself. Since 2006, hundreds of people have joined us on our Cycling Study Tours.
First hand experience is better than reading. Book a tour to see how policy and infrastructure have attracted people from all walks of life to cycle:
Support this blog
Thousands of hours of work have gone into compiling the information on this blog but we do not receive grants and we do not ask for charity to support us.
You can help to make further blog posts possible by buying proven bicycle components from us:
This blog is free of charge to read and for most individual usage including reasonable "quoting" of its contents. However, neither the text nor the photos on this blog are in the public domain. To find out more, please read our copyright and licensing information.
Experience for yourself how policy and infrastructure in Assen and Groningen have led to the high cycling modal share in this area:
If you like this blog please support us so we can continue. We sell quality bicycle components and organize cycling holidays:
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.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org