I’ve nothing against the Belgians personally but…

When it comes to all things cycling, the Belgians are simply not a patch on the Dutch. They might be able to produce a fine waffle, fritte and beer – but they could take some lessons on how to treat cyclists from their continental neighbours. Maastricht, (our base for the past few days) is in the Netherlands – although only just. As soon as you head out of the city heading west or south you cross into Belgium and that’s where the contrast in cycling provision becomes very stark. Gone are the excellent separate cycle lanes on virtually every route; cycle signage becomes patchy and less clear; road surfaces are not so good and worst of all, the drivers don’t show cyclists as much respect as they do in Holland. In the Netherlands cyclists are pretty much the top of the transport tree – even pedestrians give way to cyclists, (given that most pedestrians are cyclists, this maybe isn’t so surprising). I took this picture on our way back from Floriade, I love that it shows a ‘peloton of female pensioners’ (+ Mike), demonstrating that everyone cycles in Holland. Drivers in the Netherlands ALWAYS stop for cyclists at road junctions, crossings, roundabouts and even at their own private driveways. In the Netherlands if you’re cycling along a cycle path that crosses in front of someone’s drive that they have pulled out of to turn onto the road, then the driver will always reverse back onto their drive to give the cyclist a clear run – could that ever happ in the UK? It’s a pity that for the next few days we’ll be cycling in Belgium and not the Netherlands, but the return on Thursday to ‘cycling utopia’ is something to look forward to.

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