In which we cycle shopping…

isotopp image Kristian Köhntopp -
February 22, 2020
a featured image

Welcome to the Netherlands. Please excuse me, I need to fetch a few things before I have time for you. I need a few things from Lidl in Hoofddorp, do you want to come with me?

It’s not far, we are taking the bike for some six kilometres. Also, I’m going to show you a trick: Look, Mom! Not riding with the cars, and no lights.

Let’s follow path and go down Liniepad. Take care, unusual for the Netherlands we don’t actually have the right of way when crossing. See the green sign with the circle and the number? This is our route.

A fietspad is a cycle path which is not mandatory to use. In the Netherlands, this often means a cycle path that is running completely separated from any car infrastructure, so no noise, no exhaust fumes and no interaction with car traffic at all.

This is where we are crossing the N205, but for this we have a bridge instead of an intersection and traffic lights. Also note that our bike path has lighting.

What is that car doing on a bike and foot path in the middle of a park? Oh, it’s the Toezicht, the park inspection.

As we follow the bike path, there is in fact an intersection where the Liniepad ends, crosses Ijweg and becomes Geniedijk. Not that you would notice. Also, no traffic lights.

And we go on as before. Note that the fietspad is not up to code: It is too small, in need of some minor maintenance and it is the wrong color. We will come back to that, soon.

Today it’s dry, 10 deg Centigrade, and 5 bft right in our faces. I am thankful for the motor, it’s helping quite a bit with the wind. Also, battery on board means no reason to go without lights, ever, basically.

This used to be a roadblock for construction. As you can see, it has been removed. Had it not been removed, we would have had to follow the signs - of course, if a fietspad is blocked, there is an alternative route planned and signed before construction begins.

Only later on our trip we would have seen why there was blockage. This looks like there is going to be a fietspad improvement - wider, and closer up to code than this old road we are on.

But first things first:

We need to cross the N201, and we don’t do intersections when other solutions are viable. Remember the hierarchy of mitigations from OSHA? We can Isolate (#3), so we don’t have to Engineer Controls (#4).

The same thing happens again at Kruisweg:

Again, an underpass completely takes us out of harms way and there is no traffic light, no intersection and no interaction with car traffic. At Geniedijk and Wilsonpad we are leaving our fietspad and turn left into Hoofddorp.

See these things:

You will find them all over the Netherlands. They are giant underground trash collectors, around 1.5mx1.5mx1.5m. One is for plastic, one is for glass sorted by color, and one is for paper. They have sensors, and when they are close to full, they will signal Meerlanden and ask for cleanup. A trash compactor truck will pull them up and empty them, put the thing back and take the trash away.

Ramaer connects to Ter Veenlaan,

and while this is a street that carries car traffic, by construction and connection through traffic is discouraged with extreme prejudice .

The road design as well as access to it makes it very extremely clear that this is an access road for people living here, but it is not a good plan to go through this. Also, parking:

Unexpectedly, this is quite cheap , but Hoofddorp is not Amsterdam and space it not at premium here.

Ter Veenlan opens into Hoofdweg Westzijde, a bicycle street. While this can be used by cars, all other traffic takes precedence. It’s basically a fietspad that cars are allowed to use, carefully.

As you can see from the dead end sign (uitgezonderd fiets and bromfiets), it’s also modally filtered. Which means there is some bollard somewhere, blocking car access to prevent through traffic, but which is easily bypassed by bikes.

Well, basically it’s a road with red asphalt and modal filtering. So where are the cars? On the other side of the canal, over the bridge, on Hoofdweg Oostzijde:

There still is a cycle lane, tho, and this takes us north the few meters to Councourslaan, and into the shopping centre of Hoofddorp.

It’s a one-way street, for cars, but it’s open for bikes in all directions. It is also speed bumped and limited to 30 km/h, so bike and car traffic, what little there is, can mix.

We turn left into the pedestrian zone, and cross over to LIDL at Marktplein.

After shopping, can I invite you to a typical dutch restaurant? :-)

Yup, they fry all the things. Everything you heard about it is true. Just kidding.

On our way back, we are going differently - we are following the signage for the alternate route to circumvent the Geniedijk constructions. While Geniedijk is finished, the signs are still up. They take us to Buitenschot:

At the exit, at Pad om de Noord and Ijweg, we find an info sign explaining the bike route network of the area, numbers and routes:

To continue we have to follow Ijweg north for a few meters, on an abysmally bad bike path, until we can cross over and enter Plesmanhoek:

This time, the wind is not in our face, so we are faster. Quite a lot:

Our fietspad goes through a park that has some kind of agricultural botanical garden, and passes by a playground. We then come back to Liniepad and follow it back over the bridge passing the N205.

The road here is quite interesting, because we have N205, with two lanes per direction, directions separated, and then one additional road labelled “R-Net”. This is a bus lane, used by the 300 line. It goes every 6 minutes, and is led outside of regular car traffic where possible. The tiny red dot just before the road climbs to cross the N205 itself is one of those buses.

This time we leave Liniepad early and turn right into the village, coming to Waterlinie:

We are crossing Waterlinie. It is very clear who has right of way here. Also, note the ubiquitous presence of WhatsApp. This country runs on WhatsApp. There is no escape.

We follow the fietspad on it’s way between the Villa’s. There is a pedwalk on the right, and a pedwalk on the left, and the fietspad meanders through the middle, where there is not one, but two small outdoor play areas.

So how does the owner of a 1.5 Megaeuro Villa get their Tesla to their house, you ask? Well, from the private road access in the back of the houses, of course.

We’re about to cross the R-Net bus lijn to venture into the not quite as well off part of the village, but wait. There’s an ambulance crossing, racing along the buslijn towards the Spaarne Gasthuis Hoofddorp .

And right behind: The bus. Line 300 is very busy, and hence has special buses. They are three meter longer than what is allowed on European Roads, and require a special permit. Also, roads along their road (eg. in Haarlem) had to be modified in multiple places to allow for increased turn radiuses. But on the other hand, they run every 6 minutes and can carry 186 people, each, from Haarlem via Hoofdorp through Schiphol towards Amsterdam Arena.

This is the day bike parking in this tiny village. On the Haarlem side. There is more on the other side. Multimodal transport is a thing.

Okay, we’re home. Excuse the disorderly garden. Spring is early this year and we have not been keeping up. Still, it’s cold and windy. Come in. Espresso or Tea?