An illuminated bicycle path recently opened commencing a year of cultural events being held in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France to honor the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890). Made from thousands of stones spreading iridescent light captured in the daytime, a swirling, glowing path for bicyclists and pedestrians was created for when the sun goes down. The starry night now appears above and below.
Glowing for up to ten hours at night, this wonderful design is twice inspired, first of the view out of the east-facing window of the room of Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Painted in June, 1889, The Starry Night is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It is now designed again with appreciation of Van Gogh’s work by designer Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure — to become this magical Van Gogh–Roosegaard bicycle path for many to travel on.
Using solar-powered LED lights and a special paint, the kilometer-long path (about ½ mile) is part of the larger Van Gogh Cycle Route in the province of North Brabant — Van Gogh’s place of birth and childhood years. Creator Roosegaarde told Dezeen the lights and paints are “more gentle to the eye and surrounding nature” than other lighting infrastructure.”It’s a new total system that is self-sufficient and practical, and just incredibly poetic,” said Roosegaarde of his work.
The bicycle path is free and open to the public year round. “You have people who are interested in technology to make landscapes which are energy neutral,” Roosegaarde tells NPR. “You have people interested in cultural history and experiencing it in a contemporary way. You have boys and girls who have a first date and want to take their date to a special place.”
It is the second illuminated materialization from Smart Highways. The design studio focuses on sustainable and interactive roads. The designers envision and create smart roads by using light, energy, and road signs that interact with the traffic situation.
Americans may not have a sparking bicycle path (yet). However, serious bikers can say “see you later” to their friends in New York and travel to Miami on a bike in friendly biking conditions. Bikers will be near a seaside stop anywhere along the way. One of the longest bike trails in the world, The East Coast Greenway is a 3,000-mile network of bike trails that was conceived in 1991. It runs all along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida. Surely, you can enjoy many starry nights traveling up or down that greenway.
Europe leads the way for all things bicycle. Watch this sweet comic video and relish in the airborne freedom and the causal elegance of cyclists arriving at work. The infrastructure in greater Copenhagen for these routes was planned way back in the 1960s and ’70s. There has been some thoughtful consideration of bicyclists for decades in this part of the world.
Images via Dezeen