Monday 20 September 2010

How cyclepaths make rain more pleasant

A couple of days ago I made a video as I rode home. It was horrible weather. Really a lot of rain. Part way home from work, I realised that it was a good opportunity to show the advantages of cycle paths when the weather is bad so started a camera on the back of my Mango.

Being away from motor vehicles in bad weather has a number of advantages. For a start, you have no concerns about "not being seen" by drivers whose vision is obscured by rain, spray or mist. You also remain drier because you are not hit by spray or splashed water from puddles. And you also don't ride over spilled diesel or broken glass from cars.

Grotere kaart weergeven

Journeys like this are a world away from the sort of thing that would happen quite regularly to me when I rode on the roads in the UK. If only I'd had a video camera on my bike back then I could easily have had a collection of videos to compare with this chap (or the many others documenting how cycling is in the UK).

What's more, such cycling provision brings huge benefits in speed as well. In the just short of 14 km distance covered in the video, which shows part of my 30 km each way commute, I average 36.5 km/h despite headwind and rain. The journey would not only have been less pleasant, but it would have taken longer on the road due to there being more traffic lights, traffic calming, and more things to give way to.

This video carries on from about the point that the video in my previous post stopped.


Maarten said...

I never expected to see the words 'rain' and 'more pleasant' used in quite this way in a single sentence. 'Less annoying' would be my preferred choice. But we all know that so they ya go.

Severin said...

Excellent video! I do get the feeling that sometimes a Dutch cyclepath is comparable to a sidewalk in the US. Of course the major difference is that at junctions the sidewalk always gives way, crossing for peds or bikes on sidewalks is very inconsistent and unreliable (does the button work?) and at times are cluttered with all kinds of poles, trashbins, bike racks. Of course many sidewalks also have plenty of driveways to combat with....

It's hard to be optimistic after watching this video. We fight for useless 'sharrows' meanwhile Netherlands has all that you have shown us. I will however, continue fighting the good fight, trying to push for improvements here.

Thanks for the video.

Jon Bendtsen said...


Not being right next to the car road sure has some advantages. But in some places it is just not possible, like big cities. Most of the bicycle paths I saw in Amsterdam was right next to the road. Or even just a part of the road.

The weather these day makes me long for the day after tomorrow when I pickup my Mango.

Anonymous said...

I've always believed that the weather hurdle could be less of an issue for everyday cyclists if these paths existed. The overhead protection of the bridge is also an important asset in heavy downpours. Well designed paths make for better experiences. Riding on dirty roads filled with autos in rain storms are a major hassle.

Jennifer said...

Hello, I've been reading your blog for a few months but this is my first comment. I'm just curious - what is the speed limit on the busy road at the beginning of the clip, and is there another cycle path on the other side of the road for traveling in the opposite direction? Thanks.

David Hembrow said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for your contribution. I think the speed limit at that point is 80km/h (about 50 mph). Some of the smaller busy roads have been reduced to 60 km/h.

Yes, there is an identical cycle path on the other side of the road. Both are 2.5 m wide, which is the standard width for a single direction path. this video shows part of the cyclepath on the other side of the road in winter.