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.
How did Amsterdam become a textbook example of a cycling city? What lessons can be learned? The Guardian Commentator Dave Hill discusses Cycling Cities with Professor Ruth Oldenziel and concludes that there is plenty for London to reflect on.
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?
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.
At the pre-summit of the EU Smart Cities meeting at the TU Eindhoven May 22, Oldenziel presented Cycling Cities. The meeting was hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and the Dutch Urban Approach program.
Ruth Oldenziel presented the book to Janine Hogendoorn of Ring-Ring® , who won the Cycle-Professional-of-the year award (‘Fietsprofessional van het jaar 2016â’ ) at the Dutch National BicycleDinner in Groningen June 1. Oldenziel presented the book Cycling Cities, which was highlighted during the National Cycling Congress the next day.