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2018 EuroVelo Year In Review

14.12.2018

The end of the year is fast approaching, which provides a good opportunity to look back over what has been a successful year for EuroVelo. Big events, important network developments and new members shaped 2018. This is EuroVelo’s year in review.

New members and projects

At the beginning of this year, EuroVelo welcomed three new members to its network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs). With these new “recruits”, EuroVelo will improve the coordination, implementation, operation and quality assurance of EuroVelo routes in the three countries. In Wallonia and Brussels, the NECC role has been taken on by Pro Velo, in Greece the new NEC is Cities for cycling while in Hungary, the Ministry of National Development, Cycling Coordination Department will be the new NECC.

Two big initiatives were started this year. First, the COSME project related to EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route kicked off in April. The project aims to strengthen transnational cooperation in the development of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route as a transnational and cultural long-distance cycle route. This was closely followed by the launch of the French part of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route in June. The newly appointed president of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Christophe Najdovski, made his first public appearance during the launch event.

Second, the ECO-CICLE project got underway in October with its first study visit and pilot project being implemented in Spain. The project aims to improve natural and cultural heritage policies by creating a European network for the promotion of cycle tourism in natural areas. The aim is to make bicycle the official sustainable transport to access natural heritage sites. This project will explore the possibility of creating a connection between EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route in Algarve and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Cadiz through the natural area of Doñana in Andalusia.

Growth of EuroVelo Management Team

The success of the EuroVelo network in the past year has also been reflected by the three new additions to the EuroVelo Management Team. In December last year, we welcomed Ernst Fahrenkrug as the new EuroVelo and Communications Assistant. Previously, he worked nine years as a senior copy editor and translator at a major media-monitoring agency. Likewise, in early 2018, Goran Lepen joined as EuroVelo’s Project Officer. He brings over six years of experience in managing EU funded projects. The newest member of our team, Florence Grégoire, will serve in the capacity of EuroVelo Communications Assistant. She was already interning with ECF and has previous experience in communications. We are excited at the growth of the team and we look forward to seeing the new members bring their experiences to the success of the network!

Developments and on-going projects

Throughout the year, several developments took place across the network. In France, over 30 public actors met in April to launch a steering committee for EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route that will focus on Normandy (where 85% of the itinerary is developed), Hauts-de-France (where it is developed at 45%) and the overall touristic identity of the route. In Ireland, the North West Greenway Network Project consists of three routes to be completed by 2022. Their development will result in a greenway network of approximately 126.5km in the North West. These routes will complement existing cycleways in the area, among which EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route. Successful consultation events were held in May and June for routes 1 and 2 amassing feedback from the community for the construction of the greenways. In Poland, the agreement for the construction of the Blue Velo Bicycle Route was signed in April during the Bicycle Metropolitan Forum being held in Wrocław. This 1000 km long route will follow the course of the Oder River from its source in the Czech Republic to its mouth at the Baltic coast and will form part of the EuroVelo 9 – Baltic-Adriatic.

There were 3 major ongoing projects during the year. In October, key meetings were held for Biking South Baltic! and AtlanticOnBike as well as the MEDCYCLETOUR project where partners reported their progress on similar pilot project preparations and implementations including signposting, bike+public transport, cycle friendly services and counter pilots. For instance, the counting system being implemented in Catalonia that registers the number of cyclists passing through on the route.

Big conferences

Back in June, Velo-city 2018 kicked off under the sunny skies of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. At this year’s conference, each of the four days featured a session on EuroVelo and/or cycle tourism. The other big event of the year was the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018. With more than 150 participants, was our biggest and most successful conference to date! Tourism and cycle tourism professionals from 30 different countries gathered in Limburg on 26-28 September for several plenary and parallel sessions. The programme included discussions on unique experiences and innovative ideas to improve cycle tourism in Europe. Photos taken during the conference can be found here. The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conferences have been held every other year since 2012 and the next one is planned for 2020.

The EuroVelo team wishes you an excellent end of the year and hopes to see even more people cycling, more often, on EuroVelo routes in 2019. Be sure to check out what we have already planned for next year!