Riding by the Numbers

IMG_5278_edit“What are those numbers?”

During the first two days, this question would come up every time we came to an intersection. There, below the route sign for the Landelijke Fietsroute (Regional Bike Routes) would be another sign displaying a green circle with a number in it. At first, we thought they might just be local bike routes. But our large scale map didn’t show them, so we put the signs out of our thoughts until the next intersection, where another number would pop up.

Finally, after running off the edge of our map, we bought a smaller scale map that cleared up our confusion. The numbers indicate Fietsknooppunt, or Bike Junctions, and are part of an ingenious method of navigating the Dutch bike paths. Rather than number the routes (like the LF routes), the Dutch number the junctions, and then post signs pointing to those junctions.

(Of course, we should have known this when we started—it might have saved us some trouble navigating out of Amsterdam—but we’re enjoying the sense of discovery.)

This way, you need only write down the Fietsknooppunt along your route, and then follow the signs in order. So a ride from Eindhoven to Heeze would be 94-77-27-76-50, which is much easier than listing off street names, distances and directions like ‘turn left at the third cheese shop.’ It also makes it easy to create a route of your own to go just where you’d like. It’s a discovery we’ll be putting to good use in the days ahead.

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