Category Archives: Cycling

THE BIESBOSCH, HOLLAND – does this tale ring alarm bells?

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields...

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields…

Everybody knew the dykes were in poor repair. Extra taxes were raised to pay for urgent maintenance work.

But the dukes of Holland, the Hoeks and the Kabaljauws, were squabbling among themselves. They spent the tax money on weapons and armies and no doubt told their subjects it was essential for ‘security’. Fixing the dykes was important, just unaffordable right now. It could wait till the threat from the enemy subsided and the economy improved.

Then came St Elizabeth’s Night, November 19th, 1421. Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM TO HAARLEM – with bike and smartphone

Bring it on! Trucks and planes are no bother.   I have my own cycle path.

Bring it on! Trucks and planes will not bother me. I have my own cycle path.

The joys of living in Amsterdam. It’s a fine day, I need some exercise and I have the afternoon free. One of the most beautiful small towns in the world is an hour away by bike.

I don’t need a helmet, I’m not wearing lycra and this time I’m not even taking a camera. The phone in my pocket will do the job. Continue reading

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DUTCH CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE – NSW, you could do this too!

There's nothing special about this cycle way and the windmills in Holland. Elsewhere in the world it would be a marvel and a major tourist attraction.

There’s nothing special about this cycle way in Holland. Elsewhere in the world it would be a marvel and a major tourist attraction.

The Government of NSW (it’s a place in Australia) has just announced that it will rip up one of the few separated cycleways in central Sydney and not replace it until after a new light rail line has been installed – a process that is likely to take 2-3 years! Click here for a summary of the sad story.

They could learn a thing or two from how the Dutch have organised cycling infrastructure.

Today we had to travel from Amsterdam to Beverwijk for a family lunch. It’s about a 60km round trip, it was a fine day, so I decided to do it on the bike, carrying the camera and taking a few shots along the way. Continue reading

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RIDE2WORK DAY – no sweat.

The Light Rail arrives at the end of the line, in Dulwich Hill. I'm still cool and dry.

The Light Rail arrives at the end of the line, in Dulwich Hill. I’m still cool and dry.


“You can’t ride the bike. Not today!”

Mevrouw T has just ironed my best shirt. I’ve pulled on my neatest slacks. I have a meeting with strangers, in their office, mid-morning, with no time to shower and change before it.

It’s reasonably cool for a summer’s day, but I’m a sweater. Even moderate exertion turns me into a human puddle. No amount of deodorant will be able to cope.

But February 4th is a designated Ride2Work Day, a laudable initiative that encourages us to use our bikes for commuting, rather than serious training.

I want to support the organisers and show solidarity with my fellow cyclists. What’s the point of campaigning for better cycling infrastructure if people don’t saddle up and use it?

But that sweat…? Fortunately, I have a cunning plan… Continue reading

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SIX BEAUTIFUL BRIDGES – for bikes

Melkweg ('Milky Way') Bike and pedestrian bridge, Purmerend. Architects: Next. Photo: Velo City, published Prestel 2014.

Melkweg (‘Milky Way’) Bike and pedestrian bridge, Purmerend. Architects: Next. Photo: Velo City, published Prestel 2014.

I’ve been on a quest to find the best-looking examples of Dutch bike bridges.

My inspiration has been Gavin Blyth’s book Velo City, with its collection of great photos of impressive cycling infrastructure around the world, including the photo above of the bridge over the North Holland Canal. It was a thoughtful present from the Dutch children’s book SCBWI group – thanks!

Mr Blyth’s book concentrates on the newest and hippest. I like some of the old cycle path bridges too. I’ve been trying to do them justice with the camera. Continue reading

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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

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RIDING NORTH – from Amsterdam to Hoorn

A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!

A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!


A cool but fine autumn day. Indian summer in Nederland. Surely it can’t last much longer. Must make the most of it. Drop everything. Get out on the bike.

There’s a stiff southerly blowing, adding a wind chill factor to the 10 degree temperature. I decide to ride with it for once, heading north out of Amsterdam, without any particular destination in mind. It doesn’t matter. This is classic North Holland countryside; fields cut by drainage canals, flocks of geese and families of swans, sheep and cows grazing…and a few one-off surprises. Continue reading

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