Dutch plan deluxe heated bike paths for winter riders

If you regret having to pack away your bike when winter strikes, then pack your bags and move to Holland. A couple of local governments in the bike-crazy country are planning to turn bike riding into a year round affair, by heating their bike paths to keep them free from ice and snow.

The bike paths will use a form of passive temperature regulation called an asphalt collector, which moderates the surface temperature by thermally coupling it to a deep underground layer. This means you get both warmer paths in freezing winter weather, and a cooler surface on hot summer days.

The catch is that the asphalt collector needs to be embedded 150 feet under the surface, so building the bike paths costs a cool $40,000 to $70,000 per mile. That's a steep initial outlay, but the municipality will no longer need to plow or salt the path, both of which are expected municipal maintenance procedures for the bike mad Dutch. They also point out that with more people commuting in winter by bike, there will be fewer costly car wrecks.

Initially, only the town of Zutphen and the province of Utrecht plan to build the passively heated paths, but if successful, they hope to see them spread across the country.

De Telegraaf (Dutch), via Treehugger

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