During the course of the Iron Curtain Trail project funded by the EU through its South East Europe Programme, the project meetings have taken the partners to some of the less well-known sections of the 10,000 km long route, including Lendava (in Slovenia), Szombathely (in Hungary) and Eisenstadt (in Austria). Last month, the partners came together for the penultimate time (for the current project at least) in the Hungarian town of Harkány, which is located in a wine-growing region on the border with Croatia.
As we reported earlier this year, there is currently an ongoing EU co-financed project aiming to develop cycle tourism connected to EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. The Slovenian partner in the project – RRC-KP – recently asked one of the other project partners, Foreningen Frie Fugle, to participate in a workshop, as their role is to provide advice and support on establishing successful bookable offers linked to the route. Here, Jens Erik Larsen From Foreningen Frie Fugle reports back on his experiences.
The Demarrage Project has sought to develop the Rhine Cycle Route as a transnational touristic product and over the course of the past three years, it has delivered on all of the partner’s original aims, including adding the route to the EuroVelo network (as EuroVelo 15)! A final conference for people involved in cycle tourism across Europe was held in Basel, Switzerland to share the lessons that have been learned along the way.
Representatives of over 30 organisations from over twenty different countries attended this year’s Annual National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) Meeting held on the banks of the River Rhine in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The event coincided with the final conference of the Demarrage (EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Route) Project, which was held in Basil the following day.
A three-day cycle tour starting on Sunday 21st September marked the grand opening of a new section of EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail along the border of Austria and the Czech Republic. When the tour reached Slavonice, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and the European GreenBelt Initiative.
Our French National Coordinator, DRC (Départéments et Régions cyclables) has just released a simple and informative video to explain the functioning of the ON3V, France’s National Observatory for Cycle Routes in just 3 minutes 30 seconds.
Twenty five years ago the Pan-European Picnic was held to mark one of the first holes being cut in the Iron Curtain on the border between Hungary and Austria. To mark this occasion, the Hungarian Cycling Alliance and Regional Management Burgenland agreed upon an itinerary for EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail and the route has been signed with official EuroVelo signposting in time for the anniversary on 19th August 2014
The latest figures released from the UK are proof of the demand for safe, comfortable and attractive cycle routes. Sustrans, our national EuroVelo coordination centre in the UK, has released a report which shows usage steadily on the rise on the National Cycle Network. This is despite the numbers of cyclists and walkers being in decline on the country’s road network in general.
EuroVelo has recently published a Press Kit & FAQ for EuroVelo in several languages:
If you are writing in print or online press about the European cycle route network, please refer to this document for the most up-to-date facts and fiqures, Frequently asked questions, and an overview of the network’s history.
Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming EuroVelo/Greenways international cycling tourism conference in Basel which will bring together leading figures from European politics, cycling tourism professionals, and key businesses in the cycling tourism market. The theme of the conference, at the meeting point of Switzerland, Germany and France; is Cycling without borders.
In a series of articles introducing you to the conference speakers, today we will meet Patrick Jansen, Martyn Brunt and Daniel Mourek.
Last month, Jens Erik Larsen, a member of the EuroVelo Council, was invited to southern Poland to speak about cycle routes in Denmark and the EuroVelo project. Since it is a busy time of the year, Jens Erik felt that there was limited time to go but then the Danish Ambassador to Poland himself called him in order to coordinate their presentations…so he decided he had better go!
Between the 9th and 13th September, a bike ride will celebrate the newly-inaugurated signing along EuroVelo 5 in a very attractive stretch of the recently revised Via Romea Francigena. Registration has just opened to both to national and international participants.
A brand new EuroVelo route plus three extensions to existing routes move a step closer to joining the network
The proposed EuroVelo 17 – Rhone Cycle Route and extensions to EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route in Iceland and Portugal and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Corsica have all become official ‘Candidate Routes’ following the decision of the EuroVelo Council at the end of June. The applicants will now have until the end of 2015 to implement the four routes before a final decision is taken on whether they can formally become part of the network.
As some of you will know, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean there is a sister cycle route network to EuroVelo called the Adventure Cycling Route Network. Organised by the Adventure Cycling Association, the network is currently over 67,000 km long and visits most parts of North America. In addition to their own mapped route network, Adventure Cycling also coordinates the adoption of these routes and others into a nationally designated and signed network, called the U.S. Bicycle Route System.
The EuroVelo network currently extends to Turkey only for a short section of EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail, around the city of Edirne on the Turkish/Bulgarian/Greek border. However efforts are in full swing to prepare routes in the Aegean region for a bid to join the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean route when the application process opens in December 2016. Read more…
On the 24th June 2014, a coordination meeting on marketing activities for EuroVelo 9 – Baltic – Adriatic was held in Mönichkirchen (Austria). The meeting was organised by Austrian Tourism stakeholders together with representatives of Maribor (Slovenia), Christian Weinberger (the representative of the Austrian National EuroVelo Coordinator (NEC) and Adam Bodor, the Director of the EuroVelo at the ECF.
The 20th Adras Youth Festival, which will take place in Orestiada on the Greek side of the Turkish-Greek border between the 22nd and the 27th of July, will be an ideal opportunity to promote EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail in this cross-border region. Young people attending the event from Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece will be invited to cycle along the route that follows the borders which used to separate them during the Cold War.
Every week the ECF Office receives lots of inquiries from cycle tourists wanting to cycle part or all of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. It is by far our most popular route. It was therefore very pleasing to hear earlier this year that a project related to EuroVelo 8 was awarded an EU Grant from DG ENTR. At the end of May, the project partners gathered in Nice for the kick off meeting.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Republic of Ireland administers a multi annual National Cycle Network Funding Programme. This year, more than €16 million was allocated under this Programme to the development of greenways in Ireland over the period to 2016. This funding will support the development of a number of new greenways some of which will be part of the EuroVelo route network in Ireland.
Niederrhein Radwandertag: Investments in cycle tourism and international collaboration make us all winners!
On Sunday 6th July the Upper Middle Rhine Valley was, for a day at least, cyclists’ heaven thanks to the Niederrhein Radwandertag. On the Dutch-German border, ECF Secretary General Bernhard Ensink took the opportunity to remind the participants, which included Frank Meyer, Mayor of the city of Krefeld (Germany), that “investments in cycle tourism and international collaboration make all stakeholders winners”, as attested by the success of EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route.
Through the European Interreg IVA France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen programme, local authorities in Northern France and the neighbouring Belgian region of Flanders have been working together on the I3VT project, which aims at developing cycle paths in this cross-border area. Started in 2012, this project is a particularly good initiative for the EuroVelo network, since three EuroVelo routes are located here.
A new website for the Southern section of EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail has recently gone online. Co-funded by the South East Europe Interreg programme as part of a project called “Iron Curtain Trail”, the new platform provides more complete information for those wishing to cycle this section of the longest EuroVelo route, including the historical context of the Cold War in each country.
Daniel Mourek has been involved with EuroVelo for many years now due to his role in the National EuroVelo Coordination Centre in the Czech Republic, the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation. He has recently joined the EuroVelo Council, so we decided to ask him some questions so you will know him a little better!
On the 20th June 2014, fifteen cyclists took part in a cycle tour on EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail, organised by the National Institute for Research and Development in Tourism (I.N.C.D.T.) in Romania in the frame of the Iron Curtain Trail project. The tour aimed at encouraging cycling in Romania and at raising the awareness of local authorities.
French National EuroVelo Coordination Center (NECC), Départements et Régions Cyclables (DRC) published the first part of a study looking into the use of cycle routes in France. This first document focuses exclusively on French sections of EuroVelo routes. The system that allows the collection of the data will be maintained in order to follow-up studies every year.
Between the 7th and 14th June, an international bike ride was held along EuroVelo 13 through Bavaria (Germany), the Czech Republic and Austria to celebrate new signing along the Iron Curtain Trail. The ride was held under the auspices of the Czech Minister of Environment and was supported by the European Union DG ENV (Environment Directorate-General)
As works are currently in progress on the Walloon sections of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route, which links Santiago de Compostela in Spain to Trondheim in Norway, it is a good opportunity to take stock of “la route des pélerins” in Belgium.
Second EuroVelo, Greenways and Cycling Tourism Conference to spread the results of the DEMARRAGE – EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Route Project
This September, Basel will play host to a series of cycle tourism events and conferences timed to coincide with the closing of the successful Demarrage – EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Route Project. Located at the meeting point of Switzerland, France and Germany, Basel is the perfect spot to mark the end of this successful four-year investment in cross-border cycle tourism focused on the River Rhine.
The Austrian-Hungarian border section of EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail will be officially opened on 19th August 2014, on the 25th anniversary of the Paneuropean Picnic, a symbolic event for the fall of the Iron Curtain. This event will be followed by an international cycling trip and festival organised by the Hungarian Cycling Alliance.