Cycling scenario prelude: A touring folding bicycle, fully loaded, front panniers, back panniers, handlebar bag, bags attached to the rear carrier, a cyclist with a backpack, a very warm sunny day, a crafty rear wind, a 110 km cycle, just a pleasant ramble through fields and agriculture lands.
Crossing a river is not a big deal for drivers. Usually tunnels, bridges, and ferries are provided for them. For pedestrians and cyclists, it is not quite so. In Denmark, crossing from one island to another meant taking a train. Unfortunately, not all the trains stopped at stations closest to the water-crossing, so one had to start the crossing farther inland than one could bike to. On top of that, it also meant buying tickets for the cyclist and bicycle. On some trains, a reservation for space for the bicycle on the train must be purchased.
Crossing the Nord Ostsee-Kanal in Rendsburg, Germany, was a delight after accidentally finding the portal to the tunnel. Large elevators on both end of the tunnel have the capability of taking on 5 bicycles and cyclists. In fact, as the elevators open their doors, eager cyclists were perched on their bicycles, ready to cycle out. The tunnel under the Kanal is attractive to the users. It is well-lit
and lined with pleasant, coloured tiles. While pedestrians make the underwater crossing on foot, cyclist speed to the other end.
Crossing major highways in Denmark was also a pleasant experience in the countryside, as well as in some cities. Underpasses were frequently used even when the only closest neighbours to intersections, may be cows in the fields. Malmo is an excellent city in Sweden to see and experience the value of underpasses within an urban environment, as well as Boulder City, Colorado in North America.
The grade change for an underpass, is much less than for an overpass –about 3 meters to 5 to 8 metres for overpasses. Cyclists have the advantage of being propelled downwards before the ascent on the other side which means less work than for overpasses. Trip time is also much improved.
For cycling growth, more attention should be placed on use of underpasses to cross major intersections within a city and its appeal to potential cyclists. Roadblocks to cycling may be removed.