A thoughtfully executed, fully-functional urban bike path may be received as though it were a gift from the heavens to those city-dwellers among us who have come to embrace the cyclist's healthier commute -- but in reality, it is something more empowering than humbling: a gift to ourselves. Few nations on Earth have created such a usable system of bike lane infrastructure as has the Netherlands, home to the world's greatest number of cyclists, though it's all too easy to forget that it was the common will of the people that put them there.
The video above, released by the Dutch cycling blog Hembrow, offers a concise history of how the bike-loving Dutch dealt with the rise of motor-vehicles in their cities, and how the community grew to demand ways of getting around without them as a response to mounting road fatalities. Nowadays, the health-benefits to both commuters and the environment from the Netherlands's bike culture are a testament to the power of bike paths in transforming communities and community members -- both inside and out.
Those specifics behind what inspired the Dutch to create their drool-worthy cycling infrastructure might not necessarily be shared in nations, cities, and towns throughout the world lacking in safe bike commuting options, but the desire for, and community support of such an idea is possible anywhere.