Traveling to the Netherlands, Bicycling Home

Signs indicating both guarded (bewaakt) and unguarded (onbewaakt) bicycle parking near Rotterdam's Central Train Station. Every day, tens of thousands of commuters bike to the major Dutch rail stations.

By Jay Walljasper

In September 2010 I joined a team of latter-day explorers in the Netherlands on a quest to discover what American communities can learn from the Dutch about transforming bicycling in the United States from a largely recreational pastime to an integral part of our transportation system.

We were in search of the “27 percent solution”—the health, environmental, economic, and community benefits gained in a nation where more than a quarter of all daily trips are made on bicycle, according to Patrick Seidler, vice-chairman of the Bikes Belong Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to getting more people on bikes more often.

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