|Home-made sign outside another village telling the drivers the names of all the children who play on the streets which they are about to drive through.|
|We took a ferry to Schiermonnikoog, a small island (half the size of Guernsey) just North of the mainland. It's really a holiday island, accessible only by boat. It's almost completely car free - tourists are not allowed to take cars to the island. The main means of transport is the bicycle. This is a queue for the cycle hire at the ferry terminal on the island. The ferry takes a maximum of a thousand people at a time, and almost all of them join this queue for hire bikes.|
|The only obvious "cycle path" on Schiermonnikoog leads from the ferry terminal to the island itself. To the left of this path is a road used by service vehicles (for deliveries etc.) which do drive around the island, as well as the bus service between the ferry and the hotels in the village.|
This cycle path is needed because there are a small number of commercial vehicles which come off the ferry and a couple of buses which take passengers to the village and directly to hotels. In our day on the island we saw just one private car in use. Therefore, apart from here, riding even on the "main road" is usually a car free experience. In other places other techniques are used to empty rural roads of cars.
|Many small children ride their own bikes around the island.|
|More tourists enjoying cycling on the island.|
|Cycle parking near one of the coastal cafes on the island|
A video giving some of our impressions of Schiermonnikoog. We had a great time. It's really a wonderful place for a relaxing holiday, especially with young children. But perhaps not really the place for a "cycling holiday". With a size of just 17 km by 4 km, it doesn't take long until you're back where you started !
|Back on the mainland... One day, the boyfriend of my eldest daughter came to visit. He brought his bike by train and we met him from the nearest railway station, in a village 12 km away. Like all Dutch train stations, this one has a lot of cycle parking even though it serves a village of just 2800 people. There are enough spaces for one in every eleven residents to park a bike at the station (I also made a video). We've covered railway station parking many times before.|
|The journey between the railway station and our campsite was made entirely on rural cyclepaths like this one, which connect the entire country together, and maintain a level of subjective safety which makes cycling accessible to all.|