Friday, 25 January 2013
My father used to point out that historical dramas on TV always got one thing wrong. When horses were shown pulling carriages along unfinished roads, there would be just two tracks. That's not how it used to be. In the past, there would be a third track in the middle created by horses' hooves and a track either side created by the wheels of the carriages. If there are just two tracks then that is an indication that only powered vehicles normally use that road.
Here in Assen in the present day we have three tracks on some residential streets which were not 100% cleared of ice this week. Those either side are made by the infrequent motor vehicles, while the most distinct track is that in the middle, made by the many cyclists who use this route.
This shows clearly how streets which people often imagine are "shared" between drivers and cyclists much as they might be "shared" in other countries are often not actually shared equally at all in the Netherlands. Rather, cyclists dominate because segregation of modes can also be achieved without building cycle-paths.
Thursday, 24 January 2013
|This cycle-path, 200 m from our home, provides a direct|
route to the centre of the city. Just like the other cycle paths,
it's been swept and salted. This tight grid of high quality
primary routes is essential to make cycling accessible to all
|Elsewhere in the city, a single direction cycle-path also|
cleared of snow and ice
|A minor cycle-path, not necessary to use, and un-treated|
|Simultaneous green crossing in winter. I stopped for red.|
|Main route North out of the city. Someone with a passenger|
|This is the same type of vehicle as is used for sweeping|
cycle-paths. If the paths are of proper width then you
don't need narrow vehicles.
We still have studded tyres in stock, as well as many other genuinely useful cycling products. There are more stories about gritting and snow removal,
Friday, 4 January 2013
|At the start|
I started making a video, but several other people made better videos than mine. I've picked out two of them.
Harry captures the fun in part by playing around with speeds and mixing up the order of the event:
The Questchen's video also shows the ride well and because he was in the same group as me (we rode in four groups of about 40, meeting up halfway and at the end), I appear in this video at about 7:20:
|Going home, lighting up the cycle-path|
Almost the entire distance between here
and Zwolle was covered on cycle-paths
of this quality.
|Wide, smooth cycle-path in Zwolle|
with priority over the road. Zwolle,
like all Dutch cities, has a
comprehensive network of
good quality cycle paths.
|Traffic stopped, crossing as a group|
Finally, thank-you to all those involved with organising the Oliebollentocht, especially Paulus den Boer who hosted the event and the many volunteer verkeersregelaars who gave up a day to direct traffic and by doing so made things go very smoothly indeed.
How efficient is it ?
I calculated a while back that a strong person doing a manual job probably generates about 1 kWh of energy in an eight hour working day. I cycled for less than eight hours, so this journey was probably made on less than 1 kWh of energy. It's remarkable how efficient cycling is, and a velomobile is even more efficient than a normal bicycle.