Friday 12 December 2008

Cycling highway

Maarten Sneep suggested I should include his photo of the bicycle highway along the Amsterdam Rijn Kanaal, from Utrecht to Amsterdam. He says:

"This is a "Auto te Gast" route, about 5 m wide. The dark strips on the side are "bricks" (made of the same meterial as the rest of the road), but they make a good noise in cars that have to drive on them. The photograph was taken near Maarssen railway station, looking north."

"It is unfortunate that the connection to this cycling path in Utrecht is a bit awkward, but otherwise it is a great commute over this path. I know that a few Quest riders use this path to go from Utrecht to Amsterdam, perhaps not on a daily basis, but a few times a week at least: 50+ km one way."

"Auto te gast" means that cars are guests on this road. For more information, see posts about the bicycle road within Assen. Bicycles have priority over cars, which are rare because it's not a through route by car. This is an example of infrastructure which gives cyclists a better route than drivers.

I should point out that this is hundreds of kilometres from Assen. Good quality infrastructure in the Netherlands is not just concentrated in a few small areas, but spread across the whole country. Most intercity bicycle highways do not allow cars at all but it was necessary to allow vehicles for access in this location.

The Quest that he refers to is an extremely fast faired velomobile. It's been featured several times on my blog before. If you want to commute quickly in all weathers, a velomobile is the way to do it. I made a video of riding in this location with a group of velomobiles.

Click for more posts which show examples of cycle facilities emphasizing the convenience and speed of cyclists. A glimpse of Utrecht itself, a different way of getting to work there, and the amazing number of bikes parked at the railway station is seen here.


  1. I gasped when I saw this picture. That looks like heaven!

  2. Just out of interest, in what situations would cars use this path?

  3. Perhaps Maarten included a GoogleMaps file? (hint)
    It's not close to where I live (230km), but when I go there it would be nice to be able to find this route. I'd better ask Maarten myself or look at his website.

  4. Sam: I've not seen this actual road myself, so I can't say for certain what the situation is on this road. However, based on previous experience of such a setup I would expect that drivers will use the road for access only. There are perhaps a few houses along the road, maybe even a small business or a farm. So you may shared with a tractor sometimes.

    You will almost certainly find that it isn't a through road for motor vehicles. At some point I'll make a video of a bicycle road in Assen which shows this better

  5. OK. Now I'm officially jealous . . .

    . . . though we DO have something remarkably similar here. It's called the A1058 Coast Road. Now, if only I could figure out how to stop cars driving on its three lanes in each direction . . . ;-)

  6. I was wondering how these were used. I think it's similar to the Feldwege we have in Germany in terms of rules and use. They would be perfect for our town but under the current local government I'd hesitate to suggest we repair them: as soon as they notice it's more convenient than the current route for cars they'd make them into a road.
    I know specific bike roads do exist elsewhere in Germany though. I'll have to look around and find them...

  7. I found one. Here's a photo of a bicycle road in Oldenburg.

    From the descriptions on the various photos it seems that they've varied their ideas about how this should work in Germany - or at least in this location.