I bought my first bike in Houston. My early solo rides were on the few bike trails along the Columbia Tap to Trail and Brays Bayou. Then I met the Six Thirty group. The majority of our group riding was done on city streets. In most cases there were no bike lanes. Where there were bike lanes you tended to stay out of them. I remember Washington Avenue having a bike lane in name only. What had been designated as a bike lane was badly rutted filled and with debris. So we took our chances toward the center of the lane.
We also rode on the farm-to-market roads outside Houston. There was less traffic on them, which was a plus. They tended to be chip sealed, which was a minus. Chip seal has a layer of aggregate embedded in the bitumen or asphalt. On that surface we were were modern-day Rough Riders.
The Dutch cyclist has the good fortune to have 29,000 km of bike paths. The Dutch cyclist is truly blessed to have 29,000 km of bike paths that are almost without exception well-maintained. The majority of the paths are asphalt. Those are generally the smoothest. Some paths are made of concrete slabs or pavers. Those sometimes have cracks and bumps in them. Then come the brick bike paths, which run the range from smooth to bumpy.
Bike paths in towns and cities are usually red. This differentiates the bike paths from the road where bicycles and motor traffic share the same road-space. This one is asphalt.
In the center of towns and villages the surface is occasionally brick. Ideally the bricks form a smooth surface. Sometimes though you are in for a rough ride.
Concrete pavers often appear around the edges of towns. This a section of the new bike path on the beach south of Kijkduin. The dashed center line indicates that this is a two-way path. The surface is good enough for the Not Possibles to hit 45 kph / 28 mph or more when the wind is right.
Outside towns the paths are almost always asphalt. Usually smooth and fast, although this section of the LF 1 near Monster is due for resurfacing.
This smooth asphalt path is in Midden Delfland.
Where the paths follow roads the two are usually separated. Like this one in Noordwijk.
Now that I am in Kuala Lumpur I am back to riding on city streets and sharing the roads with other traffic. Riding in Kuala Lumpur is a lot like riding in Houston. Except there is no chip seal here.