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15th international cycle tour “WEEK of CYCLETOURISM” along EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route

20.07.2018
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More than 50 participants from Czechia, Slovakia, Austria and other countries went on a cycle tour on 19-26 May to launch the traditional “WEEK of CYCLETOURISM” event, organized every year by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation Nadace Partnerství on EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route. It is the longest EuroVelo route in Czechia: over 900 km, crossing the entire country.

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This year, the tour happened on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechia. The Czechoslovak First Republic was indeed established in 1918, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This week-long tour ended after 650 km and 6,000 meters in altitude at Brno Exhibition Centre for the RE:PUBLIKA Festival, marking the anniversary with exhibitions on Czech architecture, design and literature, dance festivals, sports , etc.

The traditional cycle tour was organized in collaboration with Carlsbad, Central Bohemia regions, Vysočina and South Moravia regions and important UNESCO cities along the route such as Prague, Cheb, Carlsbad, Rakovník, Kutná Hora, Žďár nad Sázavou and Brno. Mayors, regional authorities and regular cyclists joined the tour on daily stages. One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Bike Arena Vysočina during the Mountain Bike World Cup organized this year in Nové město na Moravě.

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Every day of the tour, visits of the Trees of Liberty were organized. The trees of Liberty symbolize the rise of Czechoslovakia, because in the years 1918 and 1919, people planted thousands of them – especially the mayors, pupils and members of local associations. The trees were covered in ribbons, houses were decorated, the anthem was sung and a list of memories was laid on the roots. More trees were also planted in later years, whenever people wanted to commemorate and celebrate the importance of freedom and democracy. For instance, in 1928 (the year of the division of Czechoslovakia into four “lands”), 1945 and 1968. What’s more, the lime tree is a national emblem of Czechia.

The map of the Trees of Liberty shows the location of 1918 of them. Each one has its own story saying when and by whom it was planted. The campaign for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechia aims to connect the community by planting new trees, reaching the number of 2018 trees. The participants of the cycle tour participated in the campaign by meeting with children in schools and talking about this tradition.

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EuroVelo 4 in Czechia follows important national cycle routes such as the Ohře/Eger cycle route along the large Eger River, the Paneuropean route that follows river Berounka and passes the medieval castle Karlštejn, and the Elbe cycle route. It is signposted with the EuroVelo logo almost everywhere (except for a short section in South Moravia). Three other EuroVelo routes also cross Czechia, which is the most geographically central state in Europe: EuroVelo 7 – Sun Route, EuroVelo 9 – Baltic-Adriatic and EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail.

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Monitoring conducted by automated Eco-counters along EuroVelo 4 showed that the western section of the route, near Cheb, was used by 75,000 cyclists in 2017, while there were about 100,000 cyclists on the eastern section of the route, near Ostrava. We hope that these numbers will keep rising in the coming years!

More pictures of the event in this album.

More information about EuroVelo in Czechia: eurovelo.cz & mereninavstevnosti.cz.

Based on an article from Daniel Mourek.

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