Nijmegen; Cycling city of the Cycling country

November 22nd, 2017

Juan Leunissen

Our country contains 22.5 million bicycles. Which means 1.3 bikes per Dutchman. In many countries they would wonder what we should do with a bike, let alone with more than one bike!

Facilities for cyclists are exceptionally well here. The first subject that some foreigners wanted to talk about when they thought about the Netherlands, were the bikes. There is no place in the world where cycling is such a safe activity as it is here. We have policeman working on bikes, a king that goes cycling and even our prime minister goes to work by bike. It is something special that would not be regarded as normal in other countries. I don’t expect Vladimir Putin to go by bike to his work and neither can I imagine Thailand’s king Rama X to go for a bike ride.

We can conclude that the Netherlands is (apart from a tax haven) a cycling haven. And which city has been crowned for cycling city of the year in 2016? Exactly, Nijmegen!

There have been several investments in cycling infrastructure in the past 15 years according to the government. Examples are the bike path that connects Arnhem and Nijmegen. This ‘RijnWaalpath’ is a successful element. I am not sure whether this counteracts the competition between this cities, but on a daily basis around 1000 cyclists use the cycling path. This number does hardly change in winter.

Electric bike

An increasing number of people uses the electric bike to replace the car when going to his or her work or internship. A version that becomes more and more popular is the speed pedelec that goes around 32 km/h with a maximum of 45 km/h.  

Race bike

Cycling as a sport also becomes more popular. Among men that like to take a bike ride in the beautiful polders and hills around Nijmegen as well as among students. The success of the Nijmegen student cycling association  illustrates this.

A fact that also illustrates the success of biking are the overcrowded bike racks in the centre, at the university, near the student flats and near the train station. There has been built guarded cycling racks near the central station but these were not really successful. People apparently prefer overcrowded bike racks instead of 2 more minutes of walking. Because of this, the image of the messy bike-piles retains, but that is one of the charming sides of our city, isn’t it?