Sunday 22 April 2018

Summer's here! Three days of cycling in Drenthe

At last winter seems to be over. The sun really came out this week and the temperature crept up to nearly 30 C. Touring through the countryside became so irresistible that I took two half days off and went out on Friday evening as well.

Through the forest with Steve on Wednesday afternoon's 90 km ride to the South of Assen.

Gloriously smooth cycle-paths run through many of the natural areas of Drenthe

A fellow recumbent rider on Wednesday.

A very old mushroom style directional signpost for cyclists. These provide a few more useful service to cyclists who are trying to actually go somewhere than the much hyped knooppuntennetwerk.

Cycle-path through heath

One of the many hunebedden (dolmans) in Drenthe.

Not all of our route was spent on cycle-paths through forest and heath. We also used some very small rural roads without motor traffic and cycle-paths like this which provide direct routes alongside major roads all across the province.

Everyone cycles in the Netherlands in one way or another. That includes older people riding electrically assisted bicycles and people with many kinds of disabilities, including poor hearing or deafness (which is what SH indicates)

We stopped for a break by one of several lakes on the route

This bench is a cycling facility. It was installed to give people a view of the lake.

A poem on the bench:
Cycling in Drenthe,
So simply, relaxed,
refreshing and surprisingly beautiful.

Everyone cycles in the Netherlands, including racing cyclists who use the same cycle-paths as everyone else. Why wouldn't you when these offer shorter distances to destinations, excellent surface quality and a very pleasant experience away from motor traffic ?

Art at a farm. It marks an area where land use was reformed. "What happens to people if the law is applied arbitrarily"

We're back in Assen, a city which sets many good examples for cycling infrastructure.

The width of cycle-paths like this one, connecting a suburb to the city, make cycling safe, attractive and convenient for all.

The next morning, heading North for an 80 km ride with Theo

Excellent quality concrete cycle-paths like this reach out in all directions from the city.

20 km further on we've swapped sides but still have the same excellent wide concrete path

Recreational paths (on routes which don't get used much for commuting or school traffic) can be narrower. This one just fits between the trees.

A lake in North Drenthe.

Let's not forget which country we're in. I'm happy to say that I'll be a Dutch citizen very soon now.

Recreational path selfie. Very smooth concrete.

Dogs like cycling too.

You might have heard that there are a lot of windmills in the Netherlands. Even by Dutch standards, this is a particularly nice example.

Super smooth wide recreational path shared with very occasional agricultural vehicles (we didn't see any).

This path is made unattractive to normal through motor traffic because there is a good surface only for cyclists. Tractors can of course be driven through the mud. This design removes motor traffic, unravelling routes in the countryside so that rural cycling is made more attractive and pleasant.

Just before the two paths merge again, into very wide smooth concrete.

Video of this path, heading towards Groningen (we left Drenthe for just a few kilometres)
Entering Groningen. The space under bridges in the Netherlands is usually allocated quite equitably for cyclists.

Concrete cycle-path leading towards the centre

Mum and baby

Our destination for today. Chips from De Belg (recently immortalised in a music video ;-)

Fresh potatoes fried in 100% vegetable oil (vegan). Excellent. Note that to the Dutch, fried potato chips (friets) are known to come from Belgium. People from other countries often think they originate elsewhere.

On the way back home, passing a school. As always, almost all students cycle to the school.

Friday evening's after work ride was just 20 km in length and there are just two photos. This shows a "hazard" on a recreational cycle-path next to the golf course in Assen - a golf cart. It's perfectly entitled to be here. Presumably a condition of the cycle-path being constructed through the golf course site.

To close, what could be more Dutch than tulips, bicycle and bicycle-path in the same photo ?
Of course I didn't start cycling on Wednesday or stop cycling on Friday night. Cycling is an everyday activity for us. Earlier in the week, and also on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I took parcels to the post office for our business. On Saturday I used my bike to go to the market for vegetables and today Judy and I went on a recreational ride this morning before gardening in the afternoon.

Drenthe was deservedly made the world's first UCI bike region a few years ago. We made our lives here because having looked around extensively this is the best place we found in the world for cycling.


Jim Moore said...

And only a short while ago you were ice-biking; on one of those lakes perhaps? Such warm weather (Australia is still just as "unseasonably" warm in late April with 30 degree temps) probably indicates a big problem for humans on Earth, remedied substantially by enabling mass cycling.

A nice blogpost anyway.

Proost to Judy and yourself when your citizenship papers come through. Celebrate with a Kwak or Halve Mann Bruges Zot if you can :-)

Unknown said...

Yes, congrats on your Dutch citizenship! Keep rollong on the cycle path.