Holland

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Holland

Postby CCS » 01 Sep 2014 09:23

Not so much a piece of kit - but for those of you with kids, particularly if they aren't at the hugely confident stage on a bike, a great place to take the family for a holiday!
What's not to like about a place with loads of flat, smooth cycling paths, not to mention plentiful cheese, and an enthusiasm for liquorice?

Youngest child in particular, is now happy enough on her bike to want to tackle our local 17 mile bikeathon in the spring (though eldest announced that she doesn't like cycling :shock: ... doesn't like cheese; doesn't like cycling.... must be some sort of changeling).
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Re: Holland

Postby Jack Hughes » 01 Sep 2014 09:48

Really interested in hearing your (more in-depth) views on the cycling infrastructure, types of cyclist, attitudes of road users etc, as "the dutch experience" is continually held up as an exemplar of how to do things.

Obviously, the do nasty things to TT bikes, but that aside...
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Re: Holland

Postby CCS » 01 Sep 2014 10:18

Well, since you ask (and since I am easing myself back into the office with some Monday morning work avoidance...).
The infrastructure was excellent. Where we were in South Holland, the cycle paths generally seemed to be separate from the roads - usually split into 2 lanes (for travelling in each direction), wide enough for cycling 2 abreast, and lovely smooth tarmac (which youngest child loved, seeing as I usually take her out on the muddy common, which is strewn with tree roots and pine cones). Some paths were a bit dangerously close to the water's edge (as there is a LOT of water around) - but no one fell into the Old Rhine (to my relief). There were loads of paths completely separate from the road network (for example meandering across the polder, or heading along the coast behind the sand dunes).
Loads of people were on bikes (of all ages) - it seems to be a major way of getting around, and there were bike racks next to the bus stops, which is presumably how people commute longer distances. Bikes seemed to be mainly of the sit up and beg variety, and there were some excellent contraptions for getting children around, from the normal sort of bike seats, through to what can only be thought of as the love child of a bike and a wheelbarrow, where a couple of children could be carried in what looked like a small skip in front of the bike.

Loads of the minor roads (for example outside our cottage) were extremely quiet, so kids could happily play in safety in bikes / skateboards (though very nearly had a nasty accident while cycling next to eldest child on a skateboard... luckily, I can confirm that a mountain bike can easily ride over the top of an escaped skateboard with no damage to either board or cyclist)...

No one, except for the odd roadie or small child, seems to wear a helmet - which gave us a big issue with teenage daughter, who didn't want to ride into any town, for fear of looking uncool.
I did also notice that when we stopped for a morning coffee, there was a bike club (all on road bikes) stopped at the same cafe - all drinking beer.

Road (or even TT) bikes would have been quite happy on all the surfaces available. Best gadget I took was my Garmin - very useful for answering the endless questions from the children ('how far have we gone'; 'how long have we been riding for'; 'are we there yet'; 'can I have a Haribo'... OK, so Garmin didn't help much with the last one, other than as the basis for a rationing system).
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Re: Holland

Postby Jack Hughes » 01 Sep 2014 14:23

Ta. Some more specific questions after I've rambled a bit.

When I started driving, there were no such things as speed cameras (possibly not even radar guns), 20 mph limits etc. Over the last, cough, 30 years, driving has changed considerably. The urban limits have spread - what was 60mph is now 40 or 30. What was 30 is now 20. Driving is just about sitting in traffic or "driving by numbers" (unless you are BendyBen or Ironmorg who either drive at 100mph or 10mph, disregarding speed limits and traffic conditions).

In short, it is no fun. And something more akin to do doing a tax return - close attention to numeric detail, less getting on with the job.

So I like to ride my bike. No speed limits. I can pedal as fast as I like (realisticly, this woudn't involve exceeded the limit for cars in any case). But I don't have to worry about trying to go slowly - I can get on with the fun of whizzing around.

So, I find myself a bit conflicted about "separate infrastructure". My worry is that it is designed for speeds of 8 - 10 mph, and will have limited scope for whizzing around. So what has happened to driving starts to happen to cycling. Do not me wrong, I'm all for people not being killed and maimed, and for responsible road use. It's just that I want to maximise the fun, not the responsibility.

So, my question is, to what extent does the dedicated infrastructure slow things down to the lowest common denominator?
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Re: Holland

Postby Kevy427 » 01 Sep 2014 15:24

Jack Hughes wrote:When I started driving, there were no such things as speed cameras (possibly not even radar guns), 20 mph limits etc. Over the last, cough, 30 years, driving has changed considerably. I still lament the days of my man walking in front of the motor carriage with his red flag to warn others of my slow, but steady approach"


Jack Hughes wrote:So I like to ride my bike. No speed limits. I can pedal as fast as I like (realisticly, this woudn't involve exceeded the limit for cars in any case)"

Could this be described as pedalling furiously? ;) Or in Tritans case, 'Furious whilst cycling' (or in fact whilst doing anything)
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Re: Holland

Postby Jack Hughes » 01 Sep 2014 15:25

No. I am a sensible cyclist.
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Re: Holland

Postby tesseract » 17 Sep 2014 22:05

You bought Holland :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: Holland

Postby didds » 19 Sep 2014 22:25

I am interested in jack's question too. As in ...

to what degree is the cycling infrastructure centred towarsd "everybody" gettig to the nearest shop/school/small town centre safely at 12 mph... and how much is it a serious consideration if you had (say) a 25 Km commute. And do "fast" cyclists use the roads with the traffic or do they (have?) to stay on these dedicated cycle paths?

incidentally - did the cycle club you came across wear helmets generally? (just interested)

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Re: Holland

Postby CCS » 22 Sep 2014 09:02

Didds - the cycling club (and indeed everyone on a road bike) did indeed wear helmets (tried to use this as evidence for 13 year old that 'real' cyclists wear helmets, but she still was mortified at how uncool she looked - the trauma of helmet hair!!).
The fast cyclists did indeed also use the cycle paths - they were wide enough to accommodate all. Much use was made of bells to alert slower cyclists (again, 13 year old was upset that now she is so tall, she was riding my mountain bike, which has no bell... must find a spare from the box of bike parts to keep her happy). Everyone did seem to manage to coexist pretty well - or perhaps that's just down to the national diet of space cakes? :lol:
Not sure whether cyclists weren't meant to use the road.. in some areas, on quiet roads, the cycle path was more UK style - along the side of the road.
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Re: Holland

Postby jonathon.e » 22 Sep 2014 10:38

CCS wrote:Didds - the cycling club (and indeed everyone on a road bike) did indeed wear helmets (tried to use this as evidence for 13 year old that 'real' cyclists wear helmets, but she still was mortified at how uncool she looked - the trauma of helmet hair!!).
.


Regarding helmet hair, I am not sure how much this story was reported in the southern counties, but Ryan Smith didn't want to wear a helmet as it would ruin his hair style, if your youngster would like to read of ' the possible effects of not wanting helmet hair', a cautionary tale, none the less
http://metro.co.uk/2013/08/21/teenage-c ... n-3932434/
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