In order to present you concrete examples of these pilots, we have selected specific pilot projects from two of the partners: the bike shuttles in Mantova (Italy) and the Cycling Friendly Services Network “Accueil Vélo” in the French Départment des Alpes-Maritimes. But when other project partners are working on the same types of pilots, we have made sure to mention them in this article!
Bike and Public Transport Combined Travel Services
This pilot concerns the setting up of bike shuttles between EuroVelo 8 and the main train stations, airports, hotels and restaurants close by. It has been successfully implemented since September 2018 by the Consortium of the Oltrepo Mantovano Region in Italy. This service is free for all cycle tourists who want to discover the Mantuan stretch of EuroVelo 8 and will be in place every weekend, from Friday to Sunday, until 31 December 2019.
All cycle tourists have to do to benefit from the “EuroVelo Bike Shuttle” is to book their journey by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or giving a call to +39 33 86 21 11 51. The bike shuttle allows cyclists to reach EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route with their bicycles from Verona and Bologna airports and from the railway stations of Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Ferrara, Verona, Mantua, Cremona, Casalmaggiore and Brescello. The bike shuttle can also transport people and bikes between places of interest (museums, protected areas, festivals, etc.) and accommodation facilities such as hotels, B&B, farmhouses and restaurants in the Province of Mantua.
As the Oltrepo Mantovano Region is a rural area with a lack of public transportation and of cycle tourism services in general, this action is a good way to support cycle tourism in the region of the Po River. It enables cyclists to explore EuroVelo 8 at their pace and to discover the neighbouring cities and places of interest without losing time and energy looking for transportation options.
This bike friendly service is promoted on information brochures that are distributed in accommodation facilities and attractions of the region. Here is the promotion poster providing details on the Bike Shuttle:
The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the Regional Development Center of Koper are also implementing bike and public transport pilots. There can be some differences from one partner region to another, as in the use of trailers or bike racks, and in the possibility to coordinate this pilot with an existing bus company.
Cycling Friendly Services Networks
The last pilot included in the MEDCYCLETOUR project is the labeling of cycling friendly services along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in order to create a network of high-quality services. The Department of Alpes Maritimes (CD06), French partners of the project, have already proceeded to the assignment of the professional “Accueil Vélo” (Cyclists Welcome) label to hosting facilities, bicycle rental and repair shops and tourist offices along their stretch of the route.
“Accueil Vélo” is a national mark across France that guarantees a good welcome for cyclists and high-quality services. It concerns accommodation, tourist offices, bike rental and repair companies and places to visit. Those awarded the quality mark are located no more than 5km from the cycle route (in this case EuroVelo 8!) and must respect certain conditions:
Offering a warm welcome specially geared to cycling tourists via a personalized welcome, information and advice (on cycling trails, weather, further “Accueil Vélo” services) and a special breakfast; Offering services such as: luggage transfers, clothes washing and drying, rental of bikes and accessories, bike-cleaning; Offering special facilities: a secure shelter for bikes and repair kits. The “Accueil Vélo” services can be spotted by the official logo:
Those accepted in the frame of the MEDCYCLETOUR project are given a name plate and promotional items to display on their communication tools. The list is available on the Alpes Maritimes’ website, and the label is promoted on many national websites, such as Tourisme & Territoires and our National Coordination Centre Vélo & Territoires. These professionals will be offered a free evaluation during the first 3 years of the pilot, in order to guarantee that cycle tourists get a high-quality welcome on EuroVelo 8.
This map shows the area covered by the network of services (in green the areas where the network is already realized or in progress, and in red the areas where the services are currently being assessed):
And on the interactive map of the French EuroVelo 8 website you can see the distribution of cycle friendly services near the cycle route and links to their websites.
The Alpes Maritimes have coordinated the brand labelling of many cycle friendly services which were selected with the help of local tourist offices who promoted the label and prioritised the professionals corresponding to the criteria. More than 90 cycle friendly services of the region are now part of the “Accueil Vélo” family!
The Consorzio Oltrepo Mantovano (Italy) and the Regional Development Center of Koper (Slovenia) are also implementing Cycling Friendly Services Networks: the “Mantova province’s network of cycling friendly services” and the “EuroVelo 8 Friendly Services Network in Slovenia”.
We invite you to visit the MEDCYCLETOUR website to learn more about this project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and about the pilots that were not detailed in this article. We are convinced that these investments, allowing the development not only of the route’s infrastructure but also of services intended for cycle tourists, will greatly improve EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and make it a high-quality cycle route for the benefit of visitors and local communities alike!