Riding into a tunnel

Posted: 7 March 2013

Source: BicycleDutch

Winter draws long this year, but there was a hint of change this week, with a bit of much needed sun and warmth! To refresh our memory, let’s see what summer was like. Imagine standing over the entrance of a tunnel under the railroad tracks in ‘s-Hertogenbosch aka Den Bosch in the Netherlands. It is Tuesday the 4th of September 2012. The weather had been splendid that day, almost 25 degrees C (77F) with almost 11 hours of sunshine. It is 5 pm and you look down on one of the busiest cycle tracks in the Netherlands. On an average day almost 15,000 people on bicycles pass here. If you would be standing there for 23 minutes*, this is what you’d see:

People returning home from their daily business by bicycle at 17: 00 hrs in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

This post doesn’t need many words, so I won’t say much more, but here are some stills of things that stood out for me.

Women with baskets, children together, man in suit, guy riding against traffic on the pavement (sidewalk), putting your hand on your buddy’s shoulder, and an annoying moped overtaking, … it’s all there.

Women with baskets, children together, man in suit, guy riding against traffic on the pavement (sidewalk), putting your hand on your buddy’s shoulder, and an annoying moped overtaking, … it’s all there.

Child in a bakfiets and doing some deliveries by bakfiets

Child in a bakfiets and doing some deliveries by bakfiets

People of all ethnic backgrounds cycling.

People of all ethnic backgrounds cycling.

Boy with big bag and boy with even bigger bag.

Boy with big bag and boy with even bigger bag.

“I’m almost home” texting and being on the phone or riding with big head phones.

“I’m almost home” texting and being on the phone or riding with big head phones.

Contrasts: ordinary cyclists and racers in lycra (spandex).

Contrasts: ordinary cyclists and racers in lycra (spandex).

Cycling with crutches and an arm in plaster cast or without hands on the handlebars.

Cycling with crutches and an arm in plaster cast or without hands on the handlebars.

* I can imagine 23 minutes is too long for you, so there also is a super-sped-up version that shows you everybody passing in just 2 minutes.

The short and sped-up version of this rush hour.

This video was shot from the road over the tunnel you can see in the background on the picture below. There is a road and all the railway tracks at the Central Railway station in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on top of this tunnel. Note that the separated cycle paths do not go in as deep as the carriage way. That makes the incline for cyclists on the way out less steep and less of a barrier. The tunnel was built in the 1950s, it was designed including the separated cycle paths. Note that the paths on this picture are still tiled with the 1950s gray concrete tiles. That is because this Google Streetview shows the 2010 situation and the cycle paths have gotten a smooth red asphalt surface since.

Looking the other way. The camera was positioned over the right tunnel entrance (image Google Streetview) Note that the cycle tracks got a new smooth red asphalt surface after this picture was taken.

Looking the other way. The camera was positioned over the right tunnel entrance (image Google Streetview) Note that the cycle tracks got a new smooth red asphalt surface after this picture was taken.

Earlier, I filmed this road, before and after the new surface, and you can see that comparison as the second example in this post.

Flags fly on the opening day (18th December 1956) of the tunnel under the railroad tracks.

Flags fly on the opening day (18th December 1956) of the tunnel under the railroad tracks.