If you have read “Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie” you may recall that I am a fan of Luxembourg. It was such an interesting place. I suppose I’m mainly referring to the capital itself rather than the country as my stay was a brief one and I only spent a few hours cycling from the French border to Luxembourg City and then eastward towards the Mosel and back into France. Perhaps I should have stuck around a little longer. David Thomas, who I think lives in Luxembourg, has emailed telling me about a website he has written for. The website does a pretty good job of collating information about cycling in Luxembourg and putting it online. It’s called Cycle Luxembourg (and has a Twitter account of the same name). David has also pointed me in the direction of the video below which explains a neat system for route-finding that has been introduced in The Netherlands. The commentator is no David Attenborough but it’s an interesting take on the signage-for-cyclists issue. As you watch the video, please remember (if you live in the UK as many of you do) not to feel too disheartened that you cycle in a country that doesn’t have facilities that match with those of The Netherlands. I have now cycled in fourteen European countries and I can say that we don’t do too badly here in the UK. Believe me, the gap between where we are and The Netherlands is far smaller than the gap between the UK and those countries at the bottom of the list!
Long-Distance Cycling In The Netherlands & Luxembourg
I think the fietsknooppunten are a great idea that could be easily implemented almost anyplace. Beyond “hard infrastructure” like separated path, our preferred place to cycle are those with well organized route signage. For example, Czech Republic. While there are a few meager examples of separated paths around the cities, the well organized route signage on the small roads in the countryside makes for an enjoyable, mostly stress free cycling experience.
The main problem is not the facilities, it’s the other people on the road. OK, it is a huge generalisation, but I just cycled from Dunkirk to Istanbul and I sampled widely varying abilities/inabilities to drive. Only in Bulgaria and Turkey did I encounter drivers less cycle-friendly than in the UK. In Germany and the Netherlands I was almost exclusively on separate cycle paths so comparisons are difficult to make. In France, Croatia and Romania I was exclusively on roads. In Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia I was on a mixture of roads and separate cycle paths, canal towpaths, and riverside gravel tracks. Whenever I was on a standard road, ie one I was sharing with cars, buses, lorries etc, I noted that my fellow road users were giving me a lot of room. In the UK there is a significant minority of road users who regard cyclists as either “the enemy” or “sport”. I had thought myself paranoid but other British cyclists I met on my trip spouted the same opinions about cycling in the UK without any prompting.
Andrew: Thank you for following me on twitter. I’ll now follow you. I’m pursuing what I’m being directed to do by powers beyond my understanding- Invent the Land Zeppelin to increase the quality of life for millions of souls and be immersed in the cycling industry. Any comments you may have are welcome. The project has progressed from comments and contributions from top performers from all walks of life. I will order your book which I suspect has an embedded spiritual message. Be well, do good.