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Velo-city 2021 Lisboa celebrates cycle diversity

Thursday, September 23, 2021
After last year’s hiatus, more than 750 members of the global cycling family gathered in Lisbon to promote active and sustainable mobility. Here’s an overview of the event from a EuroVelo perspective.

The global cycling summit took place under the theme of ‘cycle diversity’ from 6 to 9 September. It was a thrill to be present in-person with our network partners to hear about the latest developments in cycling, including case studies and best practices from all over Europe.

Throughout the four days, attendees had the opportunity to visit the joint ECF-EuroVelo booth and participate in daily quizzes to test their knowledge about the network and cycling in general. Likewise, EuroVelo and cycling tourism were featured in several sessions through the course of the conference. For instance, key messages from the Day 1 plenary sessions centred on cycle diversity and the climate crisis. Naturally, the recent growth of recreational cycling was a recurring topic of discussion on the day. Moreover, a side event took place during the first day to disseminate the new Heinrich Böll European Mobility Atlas, which highlights EuroVelo as a prominent sustainable travel solution.

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Main stage inside the pavillon

On Day 2, the conversation turned even more towards sustainable tourism alongside imagining the cities of the future. Speakers identified cycling tourism as a vital component towards achieving a greener economy as it helps to fight against depopulation in rural areas and it offers new revenue streams to local communities. In a separate session, to the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted cycling tourism in their countries, several panellists pointed to the increase in bicycle sales, which led to increased levels of cycling and a promising change in people’s attitude towards active mobility. This was echoed in the statements made earlier by experts from the bicycle industry on how cycling was pivotal in preserving tourism jobs during the health crisis. Additionally, day 2 included a brief unveiling of the EuroVelo Barometer, which ranks each route of the network by its usage data, as provided by Eco-Counter.

EuroVelo 17 - Rhone Cycle Route was the route where cycling has increased the most between 2019 and 2021
Women in Cycling session

For the first time in Velo-city history, ten female speakers took the stage to celebrate the role of women in cycling on Day 3. This was followed by the traditional bike parade which took Lisbon by storm! On the final day, there was a discussion on how cycling must play a central role in the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) with, ideally, the EuroVelo network as its backbone. The cycling summit wrapped up with a call for ‘more and better cycling for all’ to become the new normal.

Were you unable to attend this year or want to relive the experience? You can purchase digital tickets to get exclusive access to the full four days of content, including 50+ sessions and 250+ speakers in HD quality.

Organised by the ECF, Velo-city is the annual world cycling summit that serves as a global knowledge exchange platform to inspire cities, decision-makers, researchers as well as industry leaders to push for more climate-friendly mobility. You can learn more about the conference here and read the full ECF Daily Reports on

If you were inspired by the content and want to find out more about EuroVelo, cycle route network development or cycling tourism, why not join us in Barcelona on 6 October for the EuroVelo & Cycling Tourism Conference. There are still a few tickets available!

Author(s): Omer Malak, with contributions from Thomas Delrive and Cian Delaney