Tag Archives: bike path

THE SOLAR CYCLE PATH – one very dumb idea?

Krommenie's car-free cycle way, generating electricity. What's not to like?

Krommenie’s car-free cycle way, generating electricity whenever the sun shines. What’s not to like?

Am I in favour of cycleways? Absolutely! Do I applaud schemes to generate power from renewable energy sources? Who wouldn’t?(apart from our peculiarly short-sighted and shamefully irresponsible Australian government)

So laying a bike path that generates electricity through solar cells embedded in its surface should be a brilliant win-win. I’ve now pedalled across the 70 metres of experimental ‘solar road’, opened last week to some fanfare at Krommenie, a Dutch village north west of Amsterdam. I’ve also done some reading.

Sorry, but it strikes me as a very silly project. Continue reading


Filed under Cycling, Holland

GO WITH THE FLOW – cycling by the Danube

It's one of Europe's most popular cycling routes - hundreds of kilometres of safe, car-free bike path.

It’s one of Europe’s most popular cycling routes – on safe, car-free bike path.

We cyclists hate stopping. When you stop pedalling a bike, it starts to wobble, then topples over. It takes far more effort to get a bike moving than it does to keep it rolling along at a steady speed.

That’s why cyclists run red lights and ring angry bells at pedestrians blocking their bike path. It’s also why, when enlightened planners lay several hundred kilometres of flat, smooth, wide, almost uninterrupted bike path along the iconic Danube River, we come in droves to roll along it. Continue reading


Filed under Austria, Cycle touring, Cycling

CYCLING USA – Chicago gets it right

Relaxed and comfortable – with hands free for texting perhaps?

Americans are in love with their cars, right? But even in New York bike use is growing fast and Chicago is putting in some work to define itself as a bike-friendly city. They have innovations other places could well imitate. Continue reading


Filed under Cycling, USA

HOUTEN – the price of perfect cycling

Houten cycleway - a million euros per kilometre, but every man and his dog can enjoy it.

Sydney may have got a bargain when it recently spent $200million on a 200km cycle path system, according to Dutch traffic engineer Herbert Tiemens. With his family, he rode the Pieperpad with us for a day and taught us a lot about cycling infrastructure. We knew it was excellent here in the Netherlands, but we had no idea of the cost. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Holland

BIKE PATHS IN BELGIUM – how they made a profit

Bikes cram Bruges's market square

I’ve enjoyed riding the Dutch and Belgian cycle networks over the past few weeks, and I’ve now been doing some research.

The Belgians invented the cycle network system and it’s paid off handsomely. When the mines in the Belgian province of Limburg began to close one by one, mining engineer Hugo Bollen had a great idea. Putting funds into building cycle paths could generate work, and stimulate the Belgians to appreciate their land more. “The more people cycle through their area, the more they will come to value it…and valuing it will lead to nature and landscape being preserved.”

Hugo’s fietsnetwerk (cycle network) officially opened in 1995. By 2007 Limburg had 1860km of signposted cycle routes, 700km of it car-free. The idea spread to the rest of the country, which now has a staggering 13,000km of signposted cycleways. Holland, Germany and Denmark have followed the Belgian example enthusiastically.

Even Hugo probably didn’t foresee the economic boom his cycling infrastructure would bring. Over 700,000 cyclists visit the Limburg area every year, and this directly generates income in the region of more than 16million euros.

We invested a couple of hundred euros of our own in Belgian food, accommodation, trains, bike hire and alcohol last week.

Money well spent, I say!

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Filed under Belgium, Cycle touring, Cycling, Travel- Europe