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24-10-2020 | Frank Jansen

Daylight saving time or standard time?

It's a recurring discussion every year, even during a pandemic: daylight saving time. Tonight it takes effect again, the daylight saving time that's hated by so many. On several occasions, The European Union has launched a plan to abolish daylight saving time and standard time.


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The intended energy saving goal has never been demonstrated and many people seem to suffer from it. Curiously, these health claims seem to increase with the year. Anyway, whether it is a matter of attracting attention or whether people actually suffer from it cannot be judged. It is certain, however, that it is nothing more than annoyance. And if changing the clock is actually going to be abolished, the question arises as to what time is chosen as standard time. Standard time or daylight saving time. There is a lot to be said about this, but we will stick to the most important facts.

Europe is not on one line

The EU has been responsible since 2000 for the simultaneous movement of the clock, because we want to keep the internal market as stable as possible. But it is the member states themselves that are responsible for the time zone they use. There is therefore no common policy on this matter. In principle, daylight saving time is standard time, but some countries would like to keep standard time. Others have a preference for daylight saving time. In many countries, people tend to disagree.. There are studies that indicate that daylight saving time is the best choice for the Netherlands, but Germany, on the other hand, tends towards standard time. And we don't want to deviate from our big neighbor. In short, there is a lot to consider; European chaos seems omnipresent. A patchwork of time zones seems threatening and people who regularly travel abroad will probably have to change the clock more than twice a year. Whether that is the intention, I wonder. But it is Europe and you can expect everything there. We've also seen it with the corona measures: agreeing upon a single policy seems impossible.

Big consequences for cyclists

"So what?", you might think. But this discussion is closer to us cyclists than it seems at first sight. "In winter I go to the gym or ride indoor on Zwift. From April onwards I can then ride outside in the evening". It is almost the standard approach of every serious cyclist. If we switch to daylight saving time we can only go outside in the evening at the end of April-early May (see table below). A lot later than we were used to. There goes our preparation. So for us riders it's better that our country choose standard time. In that case we might be able to ride outside as early as mid-March. Maintaining the current situation is not so bad either. Daylight saving time as standard time means that we suddenly have to do our  gran fondo preparations very differently.

I don't have the idea that our governments are going to care about our interests, but be aware that it is a discussion that concerns us all.

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