One of the world’s foremost cycling nations, Holland’s two-wheeled history is the subject of a fascinating new book by Canadian duo Chris and Melissa Bruntlett. Charting how the Dutch have created a casual cycling culture, Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, explores how concepts such as the protected bike lane and skills courses for kids have helped position the country as a global leader.
Yet it also touches upon how things could easily have been different. By looking at different Dutch cities, including Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam, which came close to demolishing its Jewish quarter to build a four-lane motorway, the Bruntlett’s assert that it was only a 1970s movement away from car-centric urban planning that helped cycling to flourish. This, plus a cleverly integrated mass transit system (50 percent of all trips that take place on the transit system in the Netherlands begin with a bicycle ride) make the country a modern inspiration to the rest of the world.