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Cycling infrastructure in Groningen, Netherlands: taking the smart route to Zernike Campus - Part 2

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Shortly after that, you would arrive at the Spilsulizen canal, where you cross traffic twice going their respective direction. Crossing the canal is quite nice, giving you a break from the built-up environment and giving you a sight of water; I stopped here to take a look at the houseboats dreaming of what life would look like living on one. Still, at this point, I have not since any signs for the Zernike campus; I need to stop and look at my phone a couple of times to follow this smart, which I think is ironic because it doesn't feel smart at all. I continue riding through a nice neighbourhood of Bennienstad-Noord. The road here is a oneway for vehicles but not for cyclists. There is no dictated lane for cyclists, but this doesn't seem to be an issue here as the traffic is slow. Here we have parked cars on one side of the road giving a sense that this is more of a residential area but still the main street but the size of the road. The road is nice to look at visually with tight interlocking stones, but it is painful to right on as holes and dip through the road make my bones and bicycle rattle like a chain.

Spilsulizen canal

Very bumpy road

After the very bumpy road, I reach the park Noorderplantsoen where the traffic change. I see way more bicycle riders than automobiles start to feel like bicycles are taking over the streets, which makes me quite happy to see. Riding through the park is quite lovely and gives me a calm feeling, a little break from the build-up environment again. After passing through the park, the priority for cyclists increases allowing us to bicycle through dead ends from cars. This type of infrastructure makes me feel safe as I have a barrier from the vehicles and gives me my own space.

Riding through the park

After crossing a few dead ends, we reach out first bike street where the car is a guest. This is where I started seeing the signs on the pavement and posted signs for the Zernike campus. The whole road is red asphalt, and automobiles do drive behind you slowly; this is excellent infrastructure; however, mentally, I need to get used to it as I tend to look back a few times to see how close the vehicle is to me as I feel rushed and uncomfortable when a car trails behind me. This bicycle street where a car is a guest later turns into a bicycle route just for a cyclist; it follows behind houses, and beside parks, one park has a huge pond and seeing the water makes the ride calmer. It is a lovely path with many signs for the Zernike campus and now feels like a bicycle highway. There were grossing school areas at times, and the bicycle paths had these funny speed bumps that make you go up and down. The speed bumps don't bother me at all but instead, make me laugh. While I am cycling here, I have also noticed that I haven't hit another traffic light since the first by the train station and thought, wow, if I haven't had to think about it, then this route isn't half as bad!

First signage for Zernike campus

Car is guest street

Coming to the end of my trip, I cycled under the ring highway in Groningen, which I am very fond of as I feel safe when I am separated from fast modes of traffic. After the bridge, I am at the Zernike campus, filled with many other bicycle paths going to the other buildings, all of which have a very wide route! The campus feels like a different city within the city, with large buildings and a different composition of the built environment.

Under pass of the highway

Zernike campus

Overall I would have to say that my experience riding a bicycle in Groningen is quite pleasant. I feel that this city is a bicycle city filled with cyclists of all ages. The city at times feels like a busy metropolitan with people zooming by, but once you leave the core, it quiets down and feels like a quaint city but has a feeling of life and warmth.

I would challenge you; next, you are cycling to and from a transit location to take note of the route and let me know how you feel on your bicycle ride!


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