EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST: After running successful Dutch Cycling Study Tours in five previous years, there may be a few of them this year.
Details have yet to be confirmed, as we’re currently looking at demand and options for having a different mix of study tours with different focuses. So, at this point, we’d welcome expressions of interest from councils, councillors, professionals involved in cycling and campaigners.
The immersive study tours are usually two to three-day long, and include expert insight into a cycling culture where nearly everybody cycles, as a means of getting from A to B.
The wonderful city of Utrecht will likely remain the base for any study tours this year. Utrecht has the largest bicycle parking unit in the world, iconic walking and cycling bridges, and a high-standard of cycling infrastructure and traffic-calmed streets which support its Dutch cycling culture.
In most other years, groups have cycled to the nearby commuter town Houten, famed for being a town designed around walking and cycling routes with lush greenery rather than the cars.
In previous years, groups have also had day trips to one or more other city, including Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Den Bosch, Nijmegen, and Delft and The Hague, Study tours this year might be a mix of visiting another city and focusing on just Utrecht and Houten / other nearby commuter towns. Different combinations are possible.
If you’re a politician, campaigner, or professional focused in some way focused on cycling, please get in contact — firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if people don’t want to go as part of an organised group, the focus of which is the town planning and related issues, I’d recommend people visit Utrecht for a few days, as a short break, just to experience what it’s like there, and how transformational it can be to live in a society where they provide an alternative for people to move around in something other than a car.
Before I lived there, I probably would have fallen on the spectrum of what might be described as a vehicular cyclist. However, after living there for a few years, it completely changed how I perceived our urban spaces. I suddenly realised that the car-dominated status quo we have here isn’t an inevitability, and it’s completely feasible to have a better alternative. The Dutch aren’t a different species to us. They’re people just like us, and they changed their society. We can too. It absolutely is all about the politics of space and what we’ve DECIDED to do with our urban (and rural) spaces.
Cian, would you have a recommendation on bike hire for people who might want to visit Utrecht at other times?