Thursday, 28 February 2019

Cycling between cities in the Netherlands part 18: Lelystad to Zwolle

As my hotel was located roughly half way between Lelystad and Almere and I had so far failed to visit either of those two cities I decided to get up early and cycle the ten miles into the centre of Almere following breakfast. I spent around an hour exploring the city, just as everyone was making their way to work or school and then cycled the ten miles back to my hotel again, arriving back by 10am having cycled over 25 miles before breakfast had even stopped being served. Around an hour later it was time to make my way to Zwolle; I began on a road through the nature reserve which surrounded my hotel on another beautiful warm day with clear blue skies

I climbed up to and cycled alongside a dike, down the other side and then on a cycle path through woodland which twisted and turned thorough the trees, all the while thinking how incredible it was that all of this was the sea up until the 1960s

The cycle path then turned left as it came to the Lage Vaart canal to run alongside it before turning away from it to run back through the woods again. I then came to a bridge where I crossed over the Lage Dwarsvaart canal to once again cycle alongside the Lage Vaart canal

The cycle path briefly moved further away from the canal here and I came to a large water pipe crossing the path, where a makeshift bridge had been thoughtfully provided, however my bike was too heavy to cross it without dismounting, although I did give it a go. The countryside then gave way to view of an industrial estate to my left as I cycled alongside it and then under the N302 road.

The path then turned left to run alongside the N309 over the Larservaart canal. Soon after this I turned left onto a residential street in order to turn left and left again to cycle back the direction I had just come from on a cycleway which took me up and over the Lage Vaart canal on a bridge

I freewheeled down from the bridge on the other side and came to a fork in the path where I turned left, through woods and then an open area. I came to the end of this cycle path and then cycled on a cycleway alongside the N309 road and underneath the A6 motorway.

This route continued for the next ten kilometres, initially right alongside the road before bending further away and then moving even further away so the road was barely visible way off in the distance.

As I got to the town of Dronten I turned left where the cycleway seamlessly continued on through the suburbs, past housing and children's playgrounds; providing a continuous, safe route for children cycling home from the playground after school as well as for long distance cyclists like myself. It continued over a main road, through a park and then alongside a main road but with a good 40m between it and the carriageway.

I came to a roundabout and then used a cycleway through a car park to park my bicycle directly outside a large shopping centre. That I had managed to cycle to the centre of the town on dedicated cycleways completely separate from the road network was a reminder that this new town did not exist until the 1970s and was the sea a decade prior to that. After picking up some supplies from the supermarket I headed east out of the town on a series of residential roads and cycleways to a cycleway alongside the N305 road, which ran alongside the eastern edge of Dronten. I stopped to sit at a bench that was set back from the road to eat the supplies I'd just purchased, apply sun lotion and then continued up the N305 to turn right onto a cycleway alongside the N307

That a cycleway existed alongside here, despite that the road also had a service road either side of the main carriageway, seemed a little extravagant. The google streetview history shows that the road used to just have a cycleway in each direction either side but was upgraded at some point to construct a service road either side, presumably to stop local residents pulling directly out onto the main road

Above: the N307, eight years apart
To also construct a cycleway alongside here surprises me but was a welcome addition. I wondered if perhaps a collision on the service road prompted this, as previously detailed in a twitter thread by Mark Treasure here. After a few kilometres I crossed a junction at a crossroads and was then on a service road with painted cycle lanes and back to sharing with tractors.

A few kilometres later and I cycled on a bridge and over a lock for boats going into the Drontermeer. I was now passing from Flevoland into the province of Overijssel and on land that had been developed by humans over centuries, rather than a few decades. I cycled on a cycleway alongside the road which then became a service road as we approached the N50 road and then a cycleway as I entered the town of Kampen.

In Kampen itself I took an indirect route on some typical Dutch block paved roads, both wide and narrow before I came to a pedestrianised street and did what everyone else was doing, dismounting from my bicycle to walk along it. I turned right from here and got back on my bicycle to wait at a set of traffic lights. I waited for at least 90 seconds for the lights to turn green before a large crowd of us made out way through the lights and across a bridge over the river IJssel.

I turned right at the end of the bridge onto a cycleway and then crossed the road to use a bidirectional cycleway on the other side of the road

This continued for the next six kilometres with both it and the cycleway on the opposite side of the road being used by many young people, presumably on their way home from school or college in Zwolle to the surrounding villages.

The cycleway ended as i approach Zwolle so I crossed over the road onto a fietstraat alongside the N331 road, which took me into Zwolle. I passed through the village of Westenholte and then over Westenholte bridge, which Mark Wagenbuur has previously written about here.

I looked down onto people cycling into Stagshagen under the bridge (which I've previously written about here), before joining up with that cycleway to cross over the Zwolle-IJssel canal on a bridge alongside the road

I then freewheeled down the hill, cycled over the road and then into the centre of Zwolle

Distance: Approx 55km / 35 miles
Time: Approx three and a half hours
Photos taken: 445
Map of the route
Gallery: 66 photos here

An analysis of this trip by Jitensha Oni:

Next Post:

Part 19: Zwolle to Utrecht via Amersfoort

Previous Posts in this series:

Part 1 - Hook of Holland to Rotterdam / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 2 - Rotterdam to Gouda via Delft / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 3 - Gouda to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 4 - Utrecht to Amsterdam / Photo Gallery of this journey
Part 5 - Amsterdam to Hook of Holland via The Hague / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 6 - Hook of Holland to Breda / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 7 - Breda to Eindhoven via Tilburg / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 8: Eindhoven to 's-Hertogenbosch / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 9: 's-Hertogenbosch to Nijmegen / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 10: Nijmegen to Utrecht / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 11: Hook of Holland to Gouda via Delft and Zoetermeer / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 12: Gouda to Utrecht, via a different route Photo gallery of this journey
Part 13: Utrecht to Nijmegen via Veenendaal, Ede and Arnhem / Photo gallery of this journey
Part 14: Hook of Holland to Leiden / Photo gallery of this journey

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