Tuesday 30 December 2008

Riding through Peelo in the winter. Direct routes by bike, less direct by car

Note that explanatory captions on this video are visible only if you watch on a computer and not on a mobile device.

It was -7 C ( 19 F ) this morning, warming up to a maximum of -4 C ( 24 F ) by this evening when it started going back down again ( it's -8 C or 17 F as I type this). It's now cold enough that the lakes are frozen over such that they can be walked and skated on.

I took this video on a ride right through Peelo, a 1970s / 1980s residential area of Assen, today. It's the same area as where I rode through the woonerven a few days back. The same area as where hopscotch is permanently built into the road.

Direct routes for cyclists, in red, don't exist by car
In the video we ride from point A to point B on the map, a distance of about 1.5 km or 1 mile through this suburb. Our route is along the cycle path shown by the wider red line which provides the main West-East route for cyclists, and of course also links with other routes to other destinations at either end.

The narrower red lines show some of the other larger cycle paths in the area which make up part of the grid of routes required.
Shops, schools and other services are all conveniently placed right on the main cycle path through the area. This cycle path provides the most direct route from West to East. It is not possible to make such a convenient journey by car because the roads take less direct routes with a lot of bends. It is to the advantage of cyclists that driving routes are unravelled from cycling routes.

The photo shows how a road ends in a cycle path in front of these houses (the sign reads "fietspad" - Dutch for "cycle path"). It is a straight line along this path to one of the schools shown in the video. To drive there would require a considerable detour along many small roads. It is virtually always possible to make shorter journeys by bike than by car in this area, and this is why most journeys in the Netherlands take less time by bike than by car.

For another view of this area, showing how convenient it is to get from homes onto this cycle path, see the video on a previous post.

This area of Assen, as well as newer and older residential areas, features on our study tours for planners, campaigners and others interested in the role that infrastructure takes in encouraging cycling.


Anonymous said...

Apparently there are far more bikes in Peelo than hats. I get chilly just seeing all those bare heads! :)

Anonymous said...

Anon... I was thinking the same thing :-) As usual, David's video offers a look at what's possible when we plan communities for active transportation. I'd like to live in such a place. That's only going to happen if I work to make Springfield a more bicycle-friendly town.

Anneke said...

@ Anonymous, there are three possible reasons for the lack of hats, one, Dutch people are just tough, two, it wasn't actually that cold, or three, cycling warms you up (exercise remember?). I certainly start with wearing a hat, ear warmers, gloves and a shawl. After half an hour I am usually only wearing the shawl.

njh said...

I'm surprised at the low density of housing in Peelo - it's lower than a lot of the US, yet cycling is practical!