Monday 22 August 2011

Three years of blogging - top posts

The first post on this blog was made three years ago on the 16th of August 2008. At that time, I marvelled that "No-one has tooted a horn aggressively at me, no-one has driven their car at me, no-one has shouted at me in the street in an aggressive way."

We've now lived here for four years, and this remains very nearly true. Unfortunately, I had one very minor tooting incident earlier this year - just enough to remind me that The Netherlands isn't perfect. However, that such incidents are so rare as only one in the four years we've lived here remains a very good part of why it is that the Dutch find cycling to be a pleasant experience, and why people here cycle as much as they do.

Anyway, here are the top twenty most read posts on the blog:
  1. Anatomy of reliable everyday bicycle - A practical bicycle is needed if you rely on it every day. What makes a "Dutch bicycle" so practical ?
  2. Three types of safety - Subjective and Social safety are more important than actual safety if people are to be encouraged to cycle. However, these things come together, and the Netherlands is also the safest place in the world to cycle.
  3. Directness - highlighting the importance of cyclists being able to make convenient journeys. If cycling is inconvenient it won't be popular.
  4. The most dangerous cycle crossing in the UK
  5. The truth about Copenhagen - some people didn't like this. Sorry, but I don't like exaggeration and hype.
  6. Sinner Mango - a lot of people seem to like this bike. So do I.
  7. Stairs are dangerous - wear a helmet - Many things are more dangerous than cycling. Climbing stairs is just one of them. Scaremongering does not help to encourage people to cycle.
  8. Bikes for older people - just one of several posts with the same subject
  9. Stopping ban by schools - It's simply not necessary for cars to be able to stop by schools, especially at times of day when they put children at risk. There are lots of stories about school travel.
  10. Oh London you really need to try harder than this - one of several on London.
  11. World's safest roads - Dutch and British roads vie for the position of the safest in the world, but the way the safety levels have been achieved couldn't be more different, and for cyclists and pedestrians this is a very important difference.
  12. State of the Art bikeway design, or is it? - Criticism of American infrastructure design, self described as "state of the art".
  13. When Cyclists Matter - Car crash and public response in 's-Hertogenbosch - it's a bit different here from many other places.
  14. All those myths and excuses in one post - things that people think are the reasons while cycling is popular in the Netherlands but not in their own countries.
  15. How Groningen grew to be the world's number one cycling city - one of many posts about Groningen.
  16. Reality vs. Myth: The "dangers" of Dutch cycle paths - Despite the statistics showing them to be very safe, some people try very hard to make our that there are greater dangers than really exist.
  17. Pit Canaries - how what your cyclists looks like is an indication of the level of subjective safety
  18. 4001 - a utility cycling odyssey - how small journeys add up
  19. Excuses - various excuses that people make for why cycling happens more here than where they live
  20. Inter-city bicycle superhighways for long distance commuters - one of several posts on this subject.
Surprisingly to me, none of the posts about the enormous amount of railway station parking made the list. None of the Before and After series made the list, the posts about segregation without cycle paths aren't there, and nor are the ones about cycle paths. Stop the Child Murder didn't make the list, and nor, perhaps most surprisingly of all, did Mark's Cycle Rush Hour in Utrecht, even though one of the videos from that post "went viral" and has now been seen by nearly a million people on youtube as well as millions more on TV around the world

The web pages showing differences between otherwise similar British and Dutch streets and how Assen has changed over the years had enough hits to made the list, but they weren't blog post.

Mark didn't get a penny from any of the TV companies who used his video. I get about €20 per year from the advertising on the blog. This is the result of many thousands of hours of work by both of us, free for you to read. Those who in the past have complained about the advertising, and those who've asked me for hundreds of Euros to use a photo they've taken of me when racing (an offer which, naturally, I turned down), might like to consider this. Writing this stuff is hardly a license to print money. Please don't be too surprised that we use the blog occasionally to advertise our businesses, Dutch Bike Bits and Hembrow Cycling Holidays. While writing the blog is enjoyable, we do have to make a living.


Paul Martin said...

Happy Anniversary, David. Thank you for all the work you have done over the years. You have opened thousands of eyes I am sure.

David Arditti said...

Thank you both very much for you work writing this blog for the past three years. Though I have not known of it for that long, I do know that it has become one of the most influential cycling blogs, if not themost influential, in the English-speaking world. Its effects are plain to see. Long may it continue.

Edward said...

Congratulations David on three years of great posts. I've lost count of how many times I have linked to your blog.

zmau said...

As I can see reading other cycling blogs, this blog DEFINITELY IS most influential in the world.
David and Mark, thank you very much for great stories. It's a pity I did not know about this a few years ago when I was deciding where to settle for the rest of my life.

Paul van Bellen said...

Congratulations David and Mark. Consistency and quality distributed week after week for so long is not common in The World.
Well Done!

Jim Moore said...

To all involved in this blog,

Congratulations and thank you on the third anniversary of the blog. This has been a truly fantastic reference for my work as a transport planner in Australia. I have sent several of your blogs up the line here where I work, particularly those to do with bike parking at train stations, and I think they have helped to shape some important decisions, or at least some thinking on sustainable transport issues.

I really, really appreciate your efforts and am typically amazed at the high quality of nearly every post, no matter what length it is. Nearly everything about them is great - they're succinct, the videos are good (though the camera-mikes could be muffled to filter out the wind noise as this gets a bit annoying on the longer vids), as are the pictures and external links (e.g. the Dutch Cycling Union Fietsersbond).

When I saw David on the videos on the 2011 Australian Dutch Cycling I thought: "he's the cycling equivalent of Doctor Leete in Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward".

Kind regards and many thanks.

Martin Parkinson said...

Yes David - although I've left maybe two comments in total, and am not what you'd call an 'activist' (or even much of a cyclist - I mostly walk places), I do think this stuff is very important and I have found your blog immensely useful.

Each time I read it I think how much unpaid work you've put into it. Even though I'm not totally averse to getting stuck in to journal articles and reports, there is no other way that I would ever have realised what the true situation in the Netherlands is - I'd have been stuck with my personal experience of the rubbish infrastructure in the UK.

So yes definitely, thank you thank thank you!

Mark W. said...

Congratulations on three years of blogging David! A great job, because I know how much time and effort just one blog post takes. My own role is minor. To put it in perspective: of the 558 posts published so far I only wrote 29 and contributed (one way or another) to 38 other posts. So no wonder I still see it as your blog!

I didn’t quite remember when I started following your blog but it turned out to have been in the autumn of 2008. I stumbled upon it by accident, but I was hooked right away. It was during the Christmas holiday of 2008 that I got the idea for my first cycling related video. After writing (sort of) a script I filmed my commute on the very first working day of 2009. The first time I was mentioned in a blog post was with this video of the ‘long commute’.

That three of the posts I contributed to landed in the all time top 20 means a lot to me. I find a lot of reward in the appreciation of many people. Meeting some of the followers (even from the other side of the world) has been very special. I have to thank you for being such an inspiration (to many people) and for giving me the opportunity to join you on your blog that is so –rightfully- well thought of by many readers.

Mark W. said...

sigh... of course I managed to include a broken link...
long commute.

Michael S said...

Thank you for this blog. I use it quite often as a reference and I know how hard it sometimes can be to keep up the writing. Writing regularly is part of the success, I guess. It made me set a bookmark at least :-)

J.. said...

David, happy anniversary! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!

I keep thinking that you've lived in the Netherlands longer. I moved to Worthing four years ago and my voyage of cycling discovery in a new area has been slightly different to yours :-) My plus points were discovering other people locally and then nationally and internationally that had the same outlook on bicycle riding as me and finding a wife that puts up with it all. Thanks to you and Mark for the continual food for thought. Keep it up!

David Hembrow said...

Thanks to everyone. It's nice to be appreciated.

Mark: Your contribution is greater than a mere count of blog posts could ever say. Your excellent videos reach a lot more people than my words do.

ibikelondon said...

Thank you, both David and Mark, for your excellent work on A View from a Cycle Path. Your wise words and inspiring videos are helping to promote genuine debate and discussion here in the UK, and whats more allows us all to take a peak in to life just across the North Sea which is always a wonderful and absorbing journey.

Happy anniversary and keep up the great work!


Anonymous said...

Quite a marathon, well done. I really enjoy the read, it is amazing that what is normal in NL is radical in UK, we are neighbours afterall.

Cheers, Mark, Bristol UK

WestfieldWanderer said...

And thanks from me, too.

I know from my shambolic and irregular efforts on my blog how much work and time is needed to to a decent blog half way properly so your work here is very much appreciated.

I also support the view that this must be one of the most, if not the most, influential bicycle blog.

Anonymous said...

It seems like only yesterday.

For anyone like myself who rode though the “dark ages” of cycling in the UK it was wonderful to discover that you were not alone in thinking that cycling was actually a means of transportation.

I think it was that chap in Copenhagen who got there first but it is to “A view from the cycle path” that discerning readers come for the authoritative, informed, articulate, and sometimes downright awe-inspiring take on how we should be organising the places where we live.

If, in the UK and elsewhere, we are finally starting to get our act together it is in no small part down to your blog which has inspired many people to get involved and do something about it.

Many thanks,

Peter (still trapped in 1960s autopia, Horsham, UK)

Kevyempi Liikenne said...

Thanks for this blog. It is an inspiring read for all cycling enthuasiast around the globe.

Through this blog I've seen infrastructure solutions that are way beyond the imagination of our local traffic engineers. If only the same people who designed Dutch cycling infrastructure were around to do the same for all other countries.

Kevin Love said...

Happy Anniversary and a big thank you to David and Mark.

Your blog has been truly eye-opening. It has led me and many other people in the Toronto Cyclists Union to know exactly what to advocate for. And to be able to show people videos of what proper cycle infrastructure looks like.

Maggie said...

Thank you David and Mark for all your hard work. I enjoy this blog and videos. I often send links of your posts to my friends.

I am the proud owner of a David Hembrow original bike basket. More than once I have been stopped and asked, "Where did you get that beautiful basket?" I hope to one day go back to NL...this time to take a Hembrow Cycling Holiday.


Anneke said...

Thanks a lot for your blog, I love to read it, in fact I do so almost daily. Cheers, to many more years!

Gareth Rees said...

I've learned a lot from reading this blog (and before that, from reading your posts to the Cambridge Cycling Campaign mailing list).

One thing you could do that would make it even easier to read your blog would be to change the RSS feed so that it contains the full text of the post. At the moment it just contains part of the first paragraph. (But maybe you need people to click through to the actual blogspot page in order to get the advertising revenue?)

Neil said...

Agree about full RSS feed being better if it won't impact any revenue etc.

Kevin Steinhardt said...

Happy anniversary, David. I'd like to say that probably owing to your blog, I moved to the Netherlands a few months ago for the cycling (and also the people) and have no intention of moving back; while no country is perfect, it's very close. Gefeliciteerd en dank dat u me hebt overgehaald.