Local Heart, Global Soul

October 11, 2017

Cycling From One Post To Another…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Meersel-Dreef,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Think about things typically Dutch and one of the things that immediately springs to mind is the bicycle. Not only do a large percentage of the population use their bikes as transport to work, they also use them for recreation too.

The demand is so great that thousands of official  “fietsroute” (cycle routes)  incorporating scenic, historic, city, village, beaches, nature reserves, castles, waterways, tourist spots, breweries, forests, wildlife and many other points of interest as their themes or focal points.

The duration of the cycle routes can be anything from a few kilometres to entire day trips, with most of the routes interconnecting so that it’s possible to almost navigate your way around the entire country without leaving a cycle path.

Of course the national system of country and city cycle paths is the key element that makes this possible. With more than eighty percent of cycle paths separated from vehicle traffic, the safety of the system is what makes it possible to have a nation that almost literally cycles from the cradle to the grave.

There are multitudes of cycle route books, both private,  government or local government  published, but these days a quick look on the internet and a push on the “print” button is just as an effective way to plan a trip, or indeed download an App and connect the information into your phone or travel GPS system.

Such is the interest in recreation cycling and importance recognised in keeping people fit and healthy that investment has not just been made in the making and upkeep of cycle paths, but many information boards and special markers also line almost every route.

These markers carry a seemingly strange code of numbers and arrows but it’s really simple, once you have your route, or combination of routes, all you have to do is follow the relevant numbers on the route posts.

I have (somewhere on the masses of folders on my computer and backup hard drives) photographs taken of single cycle path route makers, but of course as per Murphy’s Law despite searching I can not find them now that I want them. It’s only natural that cycle routes in the Netherlands and Belgium interconnect and since our visit to Meersel-Dreef is fractionally into Belgium, and we have open borders, the Dutch routes continue on as one. the information board is in only in Dutch and translated into English reads:

The Provence of Antwerp Tourist board selected the most beautiful and safest cycle routes in the province of Antwerp and drew a map of the cycle route network of nearly 3000 km. The routes are interconnected and each intersection of the network has a number. Based on those numbers you decide your route, you decide yourself how long your route will be and for how long you will go. Look on the map before you leave, make a list of intersections you want to go to, measure and add up the distances between the intersections and then you know how long your tour will be.

During the tour you have only to keep track of the numbers, the excellent road signs do the rest. At crossings, side roads and junctions between intersections, are rectangular signs with an arrow indicating the direction, and the number of the intersection you want to go to. The whole network has sign posts marking two directions. Do you fancy a trip along the cycle work network? On the basis of this section of the map you can decide on a route in the area. At the tourist offices you can get detailed maps of the cycle network in the province of Antwerp. You can order online maps via http://www.antwerpsekempen. be ‘

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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