A new public infrastructure project called Cycling Through the Trees is an incredible elevated path that gives riders a new perspective while pedaling through the forest. The project was designed by BuroLandschap and De Gregorio & Partners as a unique addition to the cycling system in Limburg, Belgium. The designers elevated the bike path in an elegant circular structure that provides stunning views of the Pijnven nature reserve.
“The trees were of course very important,” saiys Pieter Daenen, founder of BuroLandschap. “After all, cycling through the trees would no longer make sense if trees were damaged or destroyed after the construction of the structure.” The circular form of the path helped preserve this environmental intention behind the design. A crane was built at the center of the circle and helped to build up the structure while being minimally invasive to the trees and surrounding plant life. Though some trees had to be cut down or trimmed to make room for the route, they were reused to create interesting shelters near the main circular path.
Though the view from the upper paths is great, Cycling Through the Trees also makes the ground floor an aesthetic experience. The elevated structure is held up by tall, thin Corten steel pillars that seem to blend into the fir trees around them. Since trees are not regularly spaced in nature, the designers scattered their columns in intervals of one, two, and three meters apart (approximately three, six and a half, and 10 feet). The variety in spacing and the brownish color help keep riders immersed in the natural world when cycling at the lower paths.
Though it is definitely a unique project, Cycling through the Trees is not the only path of its kind. Visit Limburg, the province's tourism organization, also commissioned Cycling through the Water in 2016 as a similar project to boost tourism. We can’t wait to see what incredible new cycling structure they will commission next!