But then again, I was aiming to make progress at 20mph or more
Possibly another UK thing?
My experience of Holland and Germany (4 and 10 years respectively), is that the riding is in normal clothes, no need for shower after arriving at school, work, or the shops. Impression I get from UK commuting is that it's a race or sport as well. In town, possibly faster than the traffic, and out of town, trying to keep up with traffic.
As for pinch points. In holland the bikes would have a clear path straight thru. Pedestrians have to make a concious desicion to cross the bike path and the road separately. UK pinch points are just f***ed up and wrong (probably due to the excess of cars needing to be parked in the street).