It’s a place thousands of miles away with its own language, culture, history and traditions, so we try hard to not sound like a broken record always going on and on about the Netherlands. But for anyone, including us, who thinks bicycling is cool, the Netherlands is a model and an inspiration.
A few months back, we published this great photo
Bicycle Parking at Vincent Van Gogh High School, Assen, Netherlands
of an enormous sea of bicycles at Vincent Van Gogh High School in the Netherlands. There are actually more bike parking spots (850) than kids (725) in the school! More than 10 times as many people bike as drive to this school. How can we tell? We (and this makes us feel like CIA spies) found the satellite imagery of the school. The school has two parking lots, side by side, one for cars and another for bikes. The bike parking lot is a little bit smaller than the car parking lot, but the latter only has about 50 cars parked in it.
Satellite image of Vincent Van Gogh High School. Bike path labels added.
OK, but these pictures are clearly taken in the spring or summer. As we know in Delaware, there is a lot less riding in the winter. What happens during the Netherlands’ bitterly cold winters? That bike parking lot is probably a windswept expanse of empty concrete.
Credit: A View from the Cycle Path
While recreational cycling tapers off quite a bit in the Netherlands during the winter (just as it does here), utility cycling is year-round there. Even when it’s cold and there’s snow on the ground, cycling is still a great way to get where you need to go if you happen to be fortunate enough to live in the Netherlands. And school bike parking lots are still full. Here’s a video from David Hembrow about a quiet bicycle ride home from school during winter in the Netherlands:
Bike Delaware’s mission is to make bicycling so safe, so convenient and so much fun that everyone will want to do it, even in the dead of winter like the Dutch do.
James Wilson is the Executive Director of Bike Delaware.