HansontheBike lives in the National Capital Region of Canada. From 2010 to 2015, HansontheBike was president of Bike Ottawa, Ottawa’s not for profit, volunteer based safe cycling advocacy group, founded in 1984.
Hans worked for the Netherlands embassy in Ottawa for 13 years as an senior economic officer. He gradually was sucked into cycling advocacy after the NCC approached the embassy for advice on cycling infrastructure and former MP Paul Dewar announced him at a public meeting. Hans realised he had to get involved after her received an applause for just being there.
Popular cycling and city building blog
He maintains a blog about cycling since 2011 with over 300 posts with over 4500 (!) images and works seasonally for Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals on Sparks St in Ottawa as a bicycle tour guide. He also works with the Escape team on product development for the region. Hans’ blog is mostly about cycling in the region: experiences, cycling infrastructure improvements and events. His latest hobby is creating maps, obviously of the cycling kind as he feels there is a lack of proper cycling maps in the region. He thinks he is getting better at it now he knows how to draw a curved line in Inkscape.
‘Laid back and engaging charm’
Known for his passion and his ‘laid back and engaging charm’ Hans has spoken numerous times and across Canada about cycling and all it takes to get to a cycling culture. Hans talked to such diverse institutions as the Heart & Stroke foundation, the CAA, Canada Post, several city councils, universities, the Kiwanis and cycling advocacy groups.
Governor General medal
He is known for his engagement in the community and received a number of awards for his volunteer work. His most recent recognition was the Canadian Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers (a real medal no less). Earlier he received the City Builder Award from the Mayor of Ottawa and several other awards. Ottawa’s former mayor Jim Watson once tweeted that “Hans is better known than me, he is everywhere“ and “Hans is a legend in the cycling community“.
Our 2 hour bike tour with Hans was one of the highlights of our 6 day trip. Hans was an excellent tour guide. He was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable, giving us lots of interesting information about Ottawa and Canadian history.
You can follow Hans on the Bike on
Has has given so many interviews that he lost track, especially in the early years when Bike Ottawa was pushing for a cycle track through downtown Ottawa and everyone and their grand mother thought the world would stop turning. Nowadays, the interviews are more of the fun type. Such as this one on CBC Ottawa Morning with Stu Mills about my subway style bike map.
Bike Tales – Stories from the cycling community
In July 2022 Hans was a guest of Clare Mansell in her Podcast “Bike Tales”. She is highlighting cycling in Ottawa and interviewed him about cycling safety and why he create maps. Listen to his 13 minutes of fame here: Hans On The Bike – Ottawa’s cyling Dutchman | Bike Tales – Stories from the cycling community (podbean.com)
You can contact Hans below:
Hello Hans. I enjoy your website. Do you have an email address I can write to?
You can email me at 42share
my gmail account
I work at the Embassy of Denmark, and would like to get in touch with you regarding an upcoming event.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Sure Pia. Send me a DM on Twitter @hansonthebike
as someone who is unable to drive motorized vehicles as a result of health issues, cycling provides me with a measure of freedom and transportation that often surpasses public transport in Ottawa. safety and accessability is always an issue. a mishap that many would weather just fine could turn out to be fatal for me.
your blog caught my attention some time ago, and it was with real interest that I read the following article this morning.
this may in fact be a way to address many of the problems presented by the ‘end the war on cars’ campaigners who drive, design and maintain roads for motorized vehicles as if they have an exclusive right to them and make them safer for all.
thanks for the great posts.
“Do busy roads put off cyclists with disabilities, women or older people? And if so, could local authorities be made to improve cycle infrastructure under equality legislation?”
Hans! What a great man you sound like! I am so glad that I’ve discovered your blog. You truly are an inspiration. We can make it better for cyclists, one pedal push at a time. I look forward to reading your posts.
Thanks for the compliments. Advocacy is what you make of it. The pay off is meeting lots of wonderful people who care just as much as you about cycling/the world/community. Change doesn’t come quickly, but every time you nudge your plan a little further, you feel like you contributed something positive to the community.
I couldn’t agree more, Hans. It can feel futile at times and that ‘the machine’ (whether it be politics or planning in general) is bigger than you are, but you’re right – that is when you have to remind yourself that others feel the same way, and get involved. Slowly, things are changing, but goodness it can feel like a glacial process at times!
Hi 8 locks flat would like to use (oops took it of google without thinking) one photo from the winter bike parade. also like to work with you to harmonize events. Colin firstname.lastname@example.org
Would love to get you over to see the Main Street renewal proposal (dedicated bike lanes on both sides of the street!). I am sure your comments and hopefully support will help to make this a reality.
Main Street Renewal Open House
5:00 – 8:00 p.m., Saint Paul University, Normandin Room, Laframboise Hall, 249 Main Street.
City will present options for the reconstruction of Main Street. The proposals that will be on display are the result of the city working with community, business and other representatives over the last eight months. Construction is scheduled to begin next year and will be completed in 2015.
More info: http://www.ottawaeast.ca
Thanks, I love your blog.
Cindy (a dedicated local cyclist)
couldn’t make it as I was invited to come to Mississippi Mills already. However, we have been following this file for a long time with volunteers sitting in the meetings.
Hopefully something good will come out of it. It is a great opportunity for the city to show commitment to active transportation.
Hey check these out:
Copenhagen Bike Paths – An Example To All Cities
Junction design for safer cycling (Netherlands)
Dutch junction design – safer for cyclists
Two of the three clips appear to be in Amsterdam, perhaps the Dutch paths were an example to Copenhagen?
All 3 videos include great ideas that if implemented would make biking in Ontario much safer 🙂
You spoke in Waterloo a few weeks back and I asked a question about how I’d heard that in Holland the driver was presumed guilty until proven innocent in the netherlands. You said you’d never heard about this.
Well today I came across an article and we both need a correction. In dutch civil cases the driver is presumed at fault in cycling incidents involving children.
”In the Netherlands, the driver is presumed to be at fault in all civil cases involving children.”
I actually think this would be a great change to Canadian law and make drivers dread hitting a pedestrian / cyclist. In my town a year or two ago a cyclists was killed in a bike lane by a driver who had a suspended license, and was driving with a fraudulent license and he only got careless charge, akin to hitting a telephone pole. It’s what we cyclist have called the greatest car subsidy – http://waterloobikes.ca/2011/01/04/driving-subsidies/
Hi Graham: I don’t think I said I wasn’t aware of it, as I am, but I am not familar with the details, so I don’t want to state something in front of 130 people, if I can’t really back it up. I am pleased you forwarded this, so I can now confirm it at the next presentation.
You are still following the comments on the blog posting “About the Urban Commuter”.
If you intended to follow the actual blog, you may want to go the home page
and click the ‘sign me up box’ or go to the bottom of a blog post and tick off: “Notify me of new posts via email.”
May I have permission to repost your Ward 9 posting on CitizenCycle?
I work at EnviroCentre and am coordinating Bike to Work this year, which is taking place for the entire month of May. I was wondering if you were intersted in helping to promote commuter cycling, to your readership? I can send you ready to go text or I’d be happy to invite you to our events, if you wanted to cover them on the blog. Please let me know if there is anyway we could have a brief chat about it in the near future?
Thanks and I love your site,
Thanks for your request. I recommend you put a press release out soon with text that we can use for our blog. We’d like to wait until your website is a bit more up to date.