Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Cycling between cities in the Netherlands - Part Twelve: Gouda to Utrecht, via a different route

I've cycled from Gouda to Utrecht before, back in 2015, a journey that was mostly along a cycle track beside the N228, just south of the A12 motorway. This time around I decided to plot a different course running north of the A12 motorway, which would turn out to be a much more interesting and pleasant route. Before departing I spent the first part of Monday morning cycling around Gouda, taking pictures of people cycling before returning back to my hotel on the edge of the city to post about the school run I had just witnessed. After checking out of the hotel I was able to immediately cycle on a cycle track, which ran directly behind the hotel and led me under the A12 motorway and N451 road. I turned right to cycle alongside the A12 motorway but was shielded from it by a row of trees 

I crossed over a road, where the school / college run was still taking place and then continued alongside the motorway, safely separated from the lorries using it. 

This route would proceed along the A12 for the next few miles, with a few other people using it to get about their daily business, dressed in their daily getting about kind of clothesAs I approached the town oBodegraven the cycle track gradually moved closer to the N459 road and as I briefly stopped to take pictures of a house on the outskirts of the town with an array of decorations, a man dressed in lycra on a road bike looked towards where I was taking pictures and stopped to whip out his mobile to take a few snaps as well. The bidirectional cycle track continued into the town and I then turned right onto another bidirectional cycle track alongside a road heading east through an industrial area in the southern part of the town. There were a lot of lorries using this road, so I was glad to be separated from them. As the road turned north along the edge of the residential part of the town I couldn't help notice that you could access several residential roads from here by bike but not by car. Direct routes for those on bike or on foot, whilst those driving have to go the long way round. I passed under the railway line and then turned right as I approached the Oude Rijn river to cycle along a narrow path along it. 

This route would continue for around the next five miles, nestled between the houses and the river, a very nice and relaxing ride. After briefly stopping at a bench to eat a sandwich I continued on to the village of Nieuwerbrug, where the riverside path was restricted to pedestrians only and so I joined the road through the village before rejoining the path, which was being used by more people fishing than it was cycling. 

As I approached Woerden I once again left the path to join the road, a road which had no cycling infrastructure on it and it felt very British, before I turned left to where a tiled cycle track was available. I turned right, onto painted cycle lanes and cycled behind a teenager carrying some long piping, before turning left to use one of the few crossings of the circular moat/canal to get into the very centre of the city. I could have bypassed the centre altogether of course but thought it was worth a look whilst I was in the area. Once in the centre I cycled around a section of the inner ring road, which was one way (anticlockwise) for motor traffic but two way for cycling. 

A bit of an odd arrangement and I didn't think much of the painted cycle lane for those cycling anticlockwise, who had to share the road with buses. I then cycled south down Rijnstraat, a shopping street accessible by people walking and cycling only. I then used a small section of the inner ring road again to access a walking and cycling only bridge over the moat and out of the centre. The cycle track directly passed outside the railway station before looping under itself and leading me to a bidirectional cycle track alongside one of the main roads East out of the city. 

There were a couple of secondary schools located alongside this road and so naturally there were students cycling along the cycle track all the way out into the countryside. As the road turned north the cycle track turned into a narrow access only lane and continued alongside the railway line. 

I then turned left to cycle over the filtered lane that I had just used. From here I cycled on a road for a short while before being directed onto a narrow, unmarked bidirectional cycle track on the other side of the road. It soon switched to the other side of the road and became a marked, tiled cycle track. Crossing over the next T-junction I turned right onto a bidirectional cycle track, which narrowed before a left turn onto a road with painted lanes at each side, although this was being used by a family of cyclists.

The countryside suddenly gave way to housing as I reached the outskirts of Utrecht and after navigating a large roundabout I used a cycle track which became a service road. I then crossed over the road onto a wide cycle track which ran between the main road and the housing alongside. As the main road elevated over a road, the cycle track stayed at ground level, giving way to the next road along but then climbing back up to run alongside the main road again. 

I turned left at a cycle crossroads and passed under the road and railway line to cycle alongside Utrecht Terwijde railway station, although I'm not sure why I did this as to continue directly along the lovely wide cycle track would have been the most direct and more pleasant route. I soon turned right to go back under the railway line and road and then left to rejoin the cycle track. 

As the track lifted up past Utrecht Leidsche Rijn Railway station I looked to my right to see construction of this new neighbourhood underway, completely unaware that I was also passing over the A2 motorway, which had been buried underground in this spot between 2007 and 2012 to make way for this new development. As I looked down at the building work I could see people cycling through the construction sites; clearly they had built the cycling routes long before they had built the shops and houses that will one day be here. I passed over the canal and a long descent down from the bridge, past a wide, main road that will soon cease to exist and into the centre of Utrecht. 

Distance: Approx 40km /  25 miles
Time: Approx three hours
Photos taken: 380
Map of the route
Gallery:  62 photos here

An analysis of this trip by Jitensha Oni:

Previous Posts:

Part One - Hook of Holland to Rotterdam / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Two - Rotterdam to Gouda via Delft / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Three - Gouda to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Four - Utrecht to Amsterdam / Photo Gallery of this journey
Part Five - Amsterdam to Hook of Holland via The Hague / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Six - Hook of Holland to Breda / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Seven - Breda to Eindhoven via Tilburg / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Eight: Eindhoven to 's-Hertogenbosch / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Nine: 's-Hertogenbosch to Nijmegen / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Ten: Nijmegen to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part Eleven: Hook of Holland to Gouda via Delft and ZoetermeerPhoto gallery of this journey


  1. Minor correction: 'the town of Broekvelden' is actually called 'Bodegraven'. Broekvelden is only the name of the industrial area you passed through.

  2. Would you prefer this route over one further south using the Lange Linschoten cycle path?