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Cycling Tourism: Stimulating Urban Cycling – Speed Date

20.06.2017
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The promotion of cycling is not always easy, especially not when faced with challenges such as missing cycle infrastructure or low bike ownership. The main focus of last week’s speed date session at the Velo-City 2017 was on how cycle tourism can help to start and grow urban cycling.Over 20 participants attended the interesting and inspiring speed date session in which speakers from three very diverse countries (Japan, Denmark and Italy), presented and exchanged their experiences and best practice examples on how cycle tourism can be used as a means to stimulate and advance urban cycling.Cycle tourism is a new alternative to traditional tourism in which the bicycle is the primary mode of transport. It enables tourists to discover appealing localities from a different perspective- from a bike.

19197783_10209126960197277_117522307_o (1)Haruhiko Yamasaki, from the Kokusai Kogyo Group, gave a short presentation on the cycle tourism project “Churashima Cycling”on the beautiful island of Okinawa- the southernmost prefecture of Japan. Okinawa has plenty of beautiful and appealing tourist attractions and an increasing amount of tourists discover its beautiful beaches and heritage sites on a bike. In order to enhance bicycle use and cycle tourism in Okinawa even further, various efforts are made such as the creation of various types of maps, the establishment of rest stops for cyclists or the analysis of bicycle rental systems. In recent years, the number of bicycle users has increased rapidly in Okinawa, as a result of its successful bicycle tourism.

 

Jesper Pørksen, from the Danish non-profit association “Danish Cycling Tourism” gave a short overview on how minor roads in Denmark can be used as a means to increase cycle tourism and cycle use in general. According to Jesper “Cycling in certain Danish areas is decreasing, while at the same time cycling tourism is increasing in these areas”. A way to promote bicycle tourism in Denmark could be to move cars from minor roads to bigger roads to create more space for cyclists on minor roads. This would make the minor roads safer for cyclists and would thus lead to an increase of urban cycling.

 

SD ItalyVeronica Zucca from Italy, presented a cycling mobility promotion programme, which intends to promote cycling mobility in all its forms, in particular for daily travel and urban contexts. In her presentation, she pointed out that in Sardinia, cycling is still viewed as either a recreational or sport activity, rather than a means of transportation. In order to change the public opinion of the people in Sardinia, it is important to establish practical and safe routes for cyclists. The main rationale of the programme is that the promotion of cycling for leisure, tourism and sport might make people more aware of the fact that the bike can be used for daily trips along urban roads.

The speed date session provided 3 excellent best practice examples of what can be done to promote cycle tourism and to use it as a means to enhance urban cycling. The 20 participants who joined the speed date had very fruitful discussions in small groups, guided by the speakers and the moderator before moving to another table.