Cycling Cities: The Arnhem and Nijmegen Experience is the first book in the new series Cycling Cities: The Global Experience. The book, written by Eric Berkers and Ruth Oldenziel, was presented at Velo-city 2017.
The Dutch cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen both have a rich history of every aspect of cycling: utilitarian, leisure, and sport. Separated by two rivers for so long, today they are drawn closer through the cycle highway RijnWaalpad, aptly named after the rivers. The fast cycle route symbolizes their newfound joint efforts to encourage cycling as a healthy, efficient, and sustainable means of transport for this urban region.
The book traces the fascinating cycling histories of Arnhem and Nijmegen—from cycling tourists in 1900 scaling the region’s charming yet hilly landscape to urban commuters navigating the car-governed urban planning of the 1950s and 1960s and from cycling activists of the 1970s and the local and regional policymakers committed to cycling over the last two decades.
Cycling Cities: The Arnhem and Nijmegen Experience tells the tale of how two cities managed to become The Best Cooperating Cycling Region in the Netherlands in 2015; the host for two stages of the Giro d’Italia in 2016; and joint organizers of the world’s largest cycling conference Velo-city in 2017.
“How did the Netherlands become a country of cyclists?” Brazilian digital newspaper NexoJornal wonders.
Today, 34% of trips up to 7.5km in the Netherlands are carried out by bicycles, compared to 4% in Brazil. But this was not always so. Nexo tells the Dutch cycling story (in Portugese) of social movements and hard political work.
Can the 8-million city of London learn from the middle-sized cities? At the London-based Travel Watch event (November 22), the independent watchdog for transport users, Ruth Oldenziel argued that the cycling culture’s diversity in London’s boroughs are indeed comparable to Dutch cities’ variety in cycling. Building cycling lanes are not the only precondition for attracting cycling. The event and the Twitter feed drew planners, politicians, public-transit defenders, and cycling activists.
Campus authorities everywhere view parked bicycles as an eyesore. Not so fast. Adri de la Bruhèze argues that is a political issue in his interview with Twente University. If cycling is to be part of sustainable mobility mix, why not embrace the sea of parked bicycles as a much desirable symbol of sustainability?
The first PhD focuses on the governance of cycling in The Netherlands in a transnational context, with emphasis on the institutional role of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment since the 1920s in relation to selected cities and provinces. The second PhD focuses on the multi-level governance of cycling in The Netherlands through a number of historically significant case studies since the Second World War. The third PhD focuses on new mobility concepts in relation to cycling, assessing current trends and their potential. The fourth PhD focuses on the role of connected cycling in relation to the unfolding sharing economy.
For about a century Amsterdammers have pushed policy makers to make room for cycling. Chris Bruntlett marvels about Amsterdam cycling utopia and observes its history on the street. The story of Amsterdam is one of Amsterdammers appropriating the streets for cycling in any way imaginable. It also has been a story of traffic calming rather than bike paths to create a streetscape where cyclists rule and motorists are guests. That said, not just motorists pay a price. So do pedestrians.
Chris and Melissa Bruntlett found cycling in the Philips company town of Eindhoven, alive and well with a lot of “bicycle bling”: spectacular cycling infrastructural innovations. They wondered whether this is the way to go forward and asked historian and author Frank Veraart. He pointed to the 1960s infrastructural experiment of vertical separation with bicycle tunnels and sunken bicycle roundabout. As Veraart and the Cycling Cities explains, in 1961, the city hired German Engineer Karl Schaechterle to draw up a traffic plan to help solve their congestion problems. His plan, in its most basic form, was to separate “slow” traffic from “fast”. Engineers largely realized this idea through constructing tunnels underneath newly built car-only highways.
The high-tech experiments are continued in the much-celebrated Hovenring and Starry Night Bike Path, homage to Vincent Van Gogh – who lived for a number of years in the nearby village of Nuenen – recalls Eindhoven’s innovative past and future. The kilometer-long trail combines solar-powered, glow-in-the-dark stones with LED lighting, creating a visual spectacle. These spectacular projects reinforce Eindhoven’s branding efforts as the high-tech city, but also question whether they help improve cyclists’ experiences.
Amsterdam Cycling Chic writes. The Best Summer Read: “We were lucky enough to take a ride and have a coffee with esteemed Professor, lecturer, and researcher Ruth Oldenziel, co-author of the latest and greatest book Cycling Cities: The European Experience. It’s 200 pages are carefully researched and thoughtfully describe how cycling came to be (or not so much) in several European cities – with Dutch cities as a backbone story of cycling decline, automobility, then incremental change towards what are now urban cycling “success stories”. Of course every city has its own story, culture, and responses to change, and this work delves into those stories from 14 cities in 9 countries. From Budapest’s bicycling revival to Manchester’s “standstill”; Lyon;s corporate enterprise to innovations in Malmö we can read about diverse trajectories in urban cycling but all with the same goal: to get more people on bikes.” Amsterdam Cycling Chic interviews one of the authors.
In search of the most conducive conditions for D.C., The Washington Post examines the cultural dimensions of the bikeable city. “The measurement of how successful cycling culture is its inclusivity”, explained Ruth Oldenziel in an interview with the newspaper. Both visionary policymakers and a vibrant social movement are important to make cycling accessible for all.