Delft to Rotterdam Bicycle Highway Assignment
The section of bicycle highway that we followed stretched from Jaffalaan by TU Delft to Rotterdam. Nearly half of the entire route followed the Delfts Schie canal, taking us on Rotterdamseweg before transitioning to Delftweg. After traveling this initial, unbroken section of highway, the path took us through the town of Overschie. We were forced to vehicular cycle through the town until reaching the A13 underpass and reconnecting to a cycle track. This stretch ran adjacent to the A13 highway before taking us under the A13 and A20 intersection. From this point, we rode on a cycle track along the Delfshavense Schie canal until eventually reaching the Maastunnel.
The entire route can be divided into five different segments, as seen in the interactive map below. Segment A is the first stretch of highway from Delft to Overschie, hugging the Delfts Schie Canal and taking us by many single family houses, farms, and vast fields. A cycle track is used as the primary infrastructure but we were forced to cycle in mixed traffic for a few hundred yards through the hamlet of Zweth. The photos on segment A of the map show how the pavement switches from black to red during this stretch to signify entrance into a shared street. We had to cross a bridge in Zweth as well as travel below two underpasses on other points of the route, as can be seen by the various orange markers in the map. Segment A continued after Zweth on a cycle track until reaching the town of Overschie, the start of Segment B.
Segment B took us on mixed use streets through a very suburban and local area of Overschie. Vehicular cycling on unmarked roads was the only way for us to get through this stretch of the route. As can be seen in the map, red bricks throughout the streets help identify that these streets are plaza-like and that cars should be aware of cyclists and pedestrians sharing the space. There was also a short stretch containing bikes lanes delineated by smoother pavement, the only form of cycling infrastructure seen on this segment.
Segment C begins at the underpass of the A13 highway and continues through Overschie before ending at the underpass intersection of A13 and A20. The entirety of this section includes cycle tracks as well as one-roundabout that the cycle tracks continued through. Segment C was the most urban of the first three sections with many commercial and larger residential buildings. The road that we were following was also much more heavily trafficked than any road’s prior.
Segment D stretched from the A13 and A20 intersection, through Rotterdam and to the Maastunnel. There were three instances at the highway interchange where we had to yield to cars entering or exiting the on and off ramps. The traffic wasn’t particularly heavy and we only ever had to cross one lane at a time so it was not an overly stressful situation. We traveled on cycle tracks from the underpass to the more metropolitan area before the infrastructure became a stand-alone path. It was removed from the road by a significant barrier of trees or grass at points but eventually returned to a more typical, roadside cycle track about 1 km from the Maastunnel. Including the highway interchange, this segment contained three underpasses as well as 4 signalized intersections. All these individual features can be seen in the annotated map.
The fifth and final segment was the Maastunnel itself. After entering the tunnel building and taking the escalator below ground, a well-lit, two-way cycle track was waiting to take us under Nieuwe Maas. Once taking the escalator up the other side and soaking in the views, we retraced our steps to head back to Delft.
- Overall length: 9.2 miles
- Number of Signalized Crossings: 4
- Number of cyclist yields to traffic: 3
- Number of Roundabouts: 2
- Number of Overpasses: 8
- Percentage of Route Lit: 100%
- Infrastructure Breakdown:
- ~ 70% cycle track
- ~ 15% stand-alone path
- ~ 15% on-street/mixed-use cycling
We chose to look at a google map before leaving on the highway and found the route relatively easy to follow during the course of the ride. Overall connectedness of the route was very sufficient besides the portion through Overschie, where the cycle track ended and there were no obvious signs as to where to go next. At this point, we used a google map again to get us back on track. Despite us not getting lost too many times, we didn’t find the route to be very well signed altogether. Perhaps we were not looking for the right signs or simply didn’t know how to navigate the highway, but every few kilometers we would double check the map just to make sure that our intuitions were right. In the more metropolitan Rotterdam area, we came across Nick and Erin on their return trip. They warned us about a section of the cycle track that branches off but to follow it to the left. At this fork, the cycle track ended a few hundred feet down the right branch but it still wasn’t very obvious that we should take the left branch so they’re help was much appreciated.
Interactive map showing route taken. Click on segments and icons for descriptions and pictures of key features.
Non-Transportation Related Feature
I hadn’t been to Rotterdam before this trip so I was very excited to see the Euromast in all its glory. I saw it from far away for the last portion of the trip and was wondering what it was the whole time, but luckily, our route took us right next to it! I’m very intrigued by tall or otherwise unique structures so I took a few minutes to take it all in. The rotating elevator on the top most part of the tower was especially fascinating, as it reminded me of one of those tower drop rides at fairs and amusement parks. Unfortunately we didn’t explore the Euromast other than from afar so maybe one day I’ll return to fully experience it.
All in all, cycling from Delft to Rotterdam via this bicycle highway route was a very pleasant experience. It took us about 2.5 hours to complete the round trip so while not a particularly quick ride, it was simple and relaxing. For those Delft-goers wishing to visit Rotterdam and save the money that they would otherwise spend on the train, cycling is the way to go. Even after seeing how cycle oriented Delft and the rest of the Netherlands is, it still blows my mind how well connected two cities as far apart as Rotterdam and Delft can be by way of cycle.