Cities across the Netherlands have been investing in heated cycle paths, but nothing on the scale proposed to be built in Gelderland has been constructed yet. The new 1.7km “highway” aims to cut the commuting time between Wageningen and Arnhem in the Eastern Netherlands and to provide comfortable riding all year round.
It’s supposed to lead through De Jufferswaard, a nature area of 31 hectares located in the floodplain along the Nederrijn river, which will make it probably the most scenic heated pathway in Europe. A local paper mill owned by Parenco, which is one of the area’s biggest employers, is going to utilize the excessive heat from the manufacturing process to keep the path safe in winter months.
“This path is mainly for commuters,” Petra Borsboom, a spokeswoman for Gelderland council, said. “It is a beautiful protected area and that is the reason we wanted to do this. We don’t want to use salt there to keep it snow-free.”
Some of the local residents are afraid that the warmth from the path could attract frogs, which could put both them and the cyclists in danger. Therefore, the Gelderland council promised to monitor the impact on wildlife in the natural reserve as well. Altogether, the project looks very promising and has received praise from all over the world. And the council is deservedly proud of it.
“We don’t want to make the claim that it is the longest in the world because there might be one in China we don’t know about,” Petra Borsboom added. “We want to work with companies developing new techniques. The company who [wins the contract] will have a great influence on how they do the heating.”
Do you know about a similarly exciting cycling project in your neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments!