The area around Hilversum in theNetherlands is beautiful. It got its shape in thelast ice age and this landscape has lakes, small hills, meadows, forests and heath. With so many variations in a small areait is very suitable for cycling. The cycle paths are so attractivethat many people use them. Even on a coldFriday in February.
That these paths are here is because ofone woman: Mrs Pos loved cycling and she wasalready with a cycle club in the 1880s, together with her husband who was one of the founding members of ANWB. Now mainly a club formotorists but which started as a Cyclists' Union. When motor traffic increased Mrs Pos felt there was a need forseparate cycle paths. Away from motor traffic and mainly forrecreational purposes.
to build these new routes her husbandfounded a Society for the construction of cycle paths inthe Gooi en Eemland region on the 4th of March 1914. The first cycle path that was constructed was the route Mrs Pos particularly liked to cycle herself. It started in her home town of Baarn and went along a now busy road in thedirection of the nature reserve Anna's Hoeve. From there the route turned north to a forest café named
't Bluk. The route continued through the heath to the village of Laren. As this 1922 map shows the society builtan entire network a cycle routes in less than a decade. Which were heavily used and very successful. To make way finding easier the society developed way finding signs in the shape a mushroom. They would soon bethe standard in the entire country.
A table commemorates the birth of mushroom number one with a replica that is a bit different from the original. ANWB had other way finding signs which also have an equivalent today with a similar post. Most of the original cycle pathsare still in use and marked with a G+Efor Gooi and Eemland. One hundred years later theyare still very popular and used by all sorts of people cycling.
Many of whom are elderly ladieslike the woman who initiated them. She would probably still love to ride here. These separate cycle routesbrought people cycling the relaxed and safe type of cyclingMrs Pos desired. She may have paved the way for making itso common in the Netherlands to separate cycling from motor traffic.