The NECC/Cs play a key role in ensuring the implementation, operation and quality assurance of the EuroVelo routes on the regional and national level. Despite the challenges of 2020, many of the NECC/Cs recorded some significant successes over the past months in a range of areas, including infrastructure developments, new signing, and promotion and marketing activities. That these were of benefit of the users can be of no doubt, as the increases in the numbers of users recorded in France or Hungary over the summer for example show.
One of the most significant developments in 2020 was the addition of a whole new route to the network in June. Running through Austria and Hungary, EuroVelo 14 – Waters of Central Europe provides an important east–west link and connects several existing EuroVelo routes. Radlobby and the Cycling Coordination Department of the Hungarian Ministry of National Development, the NECC/Cs in the two countries, made sure the countless rivers, lakes and spas along the itinerary are ready to explore by fully signing the route and providing dedicated website for the Austrian and Hungarian section of EuroVelo 14.
The NECC/Cs are working to improve the EuroVelo routes with the aim to offer high quality cycling experiences across the continent. The 17 EuroVelo routes are in different stages of development. While for some sections improving the continuity of the routes or upgrading the surface is the next step in development, other routes are very close to or have already been certified as being a high-quality route according to the European Certification Standard (ECS). Therefore, different activities have been carried out for route development, including:
- On EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route in Ireland, construction have started on a 33 km long Greenway linking Derry to Buncrana in County Donegal. Furthermore, the implementation process of the extension of the southern end of the route has also been started. The current end point in Caminha in Portugal will move north to Fisterra in Galicia, Spain.
- EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route will also end in Fisterra in Spain to meet EuroVelo 1, bridging a gap in the EuroVelo network. The work necessary has recently started and is expected to be finished at the end of 2021/beginning of 2022.
- On EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Turkey, 58 km of new cycle paths are under construction in the Izmir Provence.
- On EuroVelo 9 – Baltic-Adriatic in Poland, 100 km of new cycle paths in the Pomeranian Voivodeship have been constructed.
- On EuroVelo 11 – East Europe Route in Hungary, the cycle path around Lake Tisza including a bridge crossing the lake has been completed.
A central part to the quality of the EuroVelo routes, and indeed any national or regional cycle route network, is signage. In 2020, NECC/Cs continued signing the EuroVelo network with the official EuroVelo route information panels. The easily recognisable signs allow cyclists to follow the itineraries across national borders without missing a turn. Here are a selection of the updates in this category:
- EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea (Francigena) has been fully signposted along its section in Wallonia.
- EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Spain has received new signage along its itinerary. Over 100 kilometres have been signed in Andalusia and in Catalonia respectively. New EuroVelo 8 - Mediterranean Route signs also went up in Koper in Slovenia.
- EuroVelo 12 – North Sea Cycle Route is now fully signed along the Belgian and Dutch section of the route.
Websites and webtools
In 2020, NECC/Cs also worked on improving their online infrastructure offering cyclists all sorts of information about the EuroVelo routes on a national level.
- For EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Croatia, a brand-new website has been developed offering a range of useful tools and information in one place.
- EuroVelo.hu was launched to offer detailed information and news about the EuroVelo routes crossing Hungary: EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea, EuroVelo 11 – East Europe Route, EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail and the new EuroVelo 14 – Waters of Central Europe.
- An interactive map providing all sorts of information on the three EuroVelo routes running through Spain (EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route, EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route).
More creative and sometimes necessary activities to further enrich and improve touring the EuroVelo network have been undergone in the last year. Here are a few examples:
- On EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea in Hungary, a pilot project of a solar-charged glowing bike path has started near Esztergom.
- Along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Turkey, several bike pumps and other cycling tools have been installed.
- To secure travelling EuroVelo 12 – North Sea Cycle Route in the Netherlands, special bicycle buses have been made available over the Afsluitdijk, a major dam and causeway along the route which is closed for cyclists due to construction works.
Along with countless other activities elsewhere along the network, these NECC/Cs’ efforts have made a real difference and will be appreciated by users. ECF is grateful for the rich and fruitful collaboration with our national partners and is looking forward to following their developments over the coming twelve months.
Author: Jonathan Hirschhäuser