Friday 3rd February
Quite a snow-storm today. It left about 10 cm / 4 inches of snow.
|Snow storms are of course no reason not to take children by bike. Due to the freshly fallen snow it's difficult to tell, but this is a cycle-path separate from the road.|
|You can see in this photo that the cycle-path has been swept already. However, more snow has fallen since then. It's no problem to ride through soft snow like this but it must be moved before it is compacted.|
Saturday 4th February
Some of the temperatures around this date in February were very low. The lowest temperatures where we live were about -19 C, which according to the weather websites "felt like" -22 C. Temperatures weren't very much higher than this when people rode to work.
|We live where it says -18.6 C. That's about -2 F. Due to wind chill, it felt like -22 C ( -8 F ). This does not stop people from cycling.|
|This is the cycle-path which featured in yesterday's photos. After the snow stopped falling it was swept of snow and treated for ice.|
|Bicycle Road towards the centre of Assen. The canal is frozen solid, but cycling is no problem at all.|
|Lots of people cycling in the centre of the city going about their business as usual. The surface is wet due to the action of the salt but it is not slippery.|
|All the routes in and out of the city by bike and by car were clear of snow and ice.|
|Early evening on the edge of Assen, cycle-paths continue to provide safe passage for cyclists, wherever they're riding to. In this case the route is to the furthest suburb which is still part of the city.|
The temperature was -11 C, but the cycle-paths were clear. I went out for a ride early this morning.
|Robert and I not only rode next to the canal, but also on the canal. I made a video which shows this beautiful day. We covered a long distance, mainly on cycle-paths as clear of ice and snow as this.|
Another really beautiful day today, and again a very cold day. The lakes were frozen and covered in skaters. By now there was real hope that the Elfstedentocht (a 200 km ice-skating race/tour on canals between 11 cities) might take place. It was -13 C ("feels like" -17 C) this morning when I set off to ride on almost entirely clean cycle-paths to the Paterswoldsemeer lake just south of Groningen.
|Frozen lakes are not just for skaters. I made a video of riding on this too.|
|The cycle-paths were of course almost all like this.|
|And people again kept riding right through the day and into the evening|
People started skating a lot. A friend of one of our daughters was one of those who skated to school. She lives in a village called Smilde, 10 km South of Assen. Normally, like all older children in that village, she cycles this distance to get to school.
|A pleasant place to skate in the afternoon. A lot of school children had taken skates with them to school so that they could skate with their friends before riding home. I've made videos from this hill before, showing typical morning traffic patterns, and why very few cars are ever seen here.|
The Bruggentocht took place today - this is an ice-skating touring event with distances of between 10 and 60 km which goes through Assen. Over 2000 people took part. Also, a few km west of here, quite a lot of people skated the Elfstedentocht route (unofficially). We went shopping for ice-skates in the hope of at least trying to do a bit of skating (I've never learnt) but couldn't find any to fit.
|Inside the shopping centre there were as many bikes as usual|
|Outside, people were taking advantage of the weather and doing everything that they possibly could on the canal|
It's warmed up through the week and was -5 C this morning. I went out again for my usual morning ride. Other people go to church on Sunday mornings, and I decided to take photos of the bikes parked by a couple of those churches.
You'll notice that the snow looks a bit thinner in these photos. This didn't happen because it thawed but because the air was very dry and so the snow was evaporating into the air. Despite the cold weather, wet clothes hung outdoors dried quite rapidly this week.
|Part of the route of my morning ride today. This rural cycle-path clear of snow and ice was not an exception but the norm. I made a video here a couple of years ago showing the contrast between summer and winter and why cycle-paths likethis are kept clear in winter.|
|This rural church was also on my route this morning and there was a smaller crowd of bikes (too spread out to fit in one photo) here too. Clearing of ice and snow doesn't stop at the edge of the city.|
|This is the cycle-path that the vehicle above had just come along.|
How was winter for you ?
How was winter where you live ? Were cycle-paths kept clear so that cyclists could use them ?
It is all too common in the UK that excuses are given and promises made after winter, but that nothing actually changes for the next winter. Did this happen to you ?
|The main railway station of Colchester in the UK serves 11,500 people daily. 300 m from the station, the road was clear, but the shared use cycle / pedestrian path stayed icy.|
Prepare for next winter !
We still have stock of Marathon Winter studded tyres. Unfortunately for us, the Dutch mostly don't need them, and with a mild winter like this they need them even less. However, if you live somewhere which isn't treated for ice so well as Assen is, you perhaps wish you'd had them this winter. Until the end of this month, we have a very good discount on these tyres. Stock up now and be prepared for next winter.