An extension of the Interreg AtlanticOnBike project, that aims to build on the amazing natural and cultural assets of the route and on the realisations of the original project, was launched last month with eight partners from six different countries.
“So unique, so diverse…” EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route, the longest EuroVelo route of the network, has something for everyone. Its 11,000 km length follows the ocean’s shores from the Norwegian North Pole to the sunny beaches of Portugal, taking in the mysteries of Scottish Lochs, the Irish coastline’s wilderness and the old magic of Brittany in France. Crossing Spain, EuroVelo 1 leaves the Atlantic to find it again in the south, at Huelva, after an epic ride through vineyards, Roman ruins and beautiful landscapes.
EuroVelo 1 is characterised by adventure. The Atlantic backdrop with its dramatic cliffs and breath-taking views create the perfect setting for bike-packers and cycle tourists looking for exciting cycling experiences. And still, with over 11,000 km of cycle routes crossing six borders, there are suitable sections for any type of cyclist.
To make this route a unique experience for its users and to bring together the diversity of six countries that have so much to offer and have varying levels of cycling development, coordinated action is needed. Between 2017 and 2020, the AtlanticOnBike project, funded by the EU Atlantic Area Interreg programme, involved no less than 21 partners along the route. It allowed forthe gathering of precise data and the evaluation of the status of route infrastructure, services and frequentation, the development of promotional tools such as the EuroVelo 1 Press Kit, and convinced decision makers of the economic benefits of cycling tourism.
A great achievement of this project extension is that all six countries along the route are on board, making it possible to develop an integral strategy, shared tools and ensure a common identity for the route, from Norway to Portugal. Representatives from Statens Vegvesen in Norway, Sustrans in the UK, the Department of Transport in Ireland, La Vélodyssée and the Departmental Council of Pyrénées-Atlantiquesin France, Conbici in Spain, FPCUB in Portugal and of course the ECF, gathered in Bristol in the end of June to launch the project extension and pave the way for a year of collaborative work.
Main objectives of the AtlanticOnBike project extension
Project partners only have one year to work on EuroVelo 1 in the frame of the project extension, but this intense collaboration is going to bring about many useful outcomes.
Several new documents, reports and guidelines will be prepared by the partners to disseminate the data collected on EuroVelo 1 and produce new tools and inspirational material for cycling tourism professionals. Among other things, a Guidance Manual on Rest areas for cycle routes, a set of case studies on intermodality and a Toolkit for destinations are under preparation to help improve the accessibility and attractiveness of EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route.
Building on the achievements of the original AtlanticOnBike project, several new transnational documents on communications will also be created: the EuroVelo 1 marketing plan, communication strategy and various kinds of promotional materials such as photos and videos. A new feature will also be added on www.EuroVelo1.com: a simple route planner to get useful information when planning a cycling trip on the itinerary.
The project extension will also allow for the gathering of more data on EuroVelo 1. Data on route infrastructure and services will be collected through new route surveys and conversion of data available on national databases to result in a transnational route evaluation report and action plan. User monitoring data will also be gathered in all countries along the route and available on a platform for cycle route economic assessment developed in partnership with Eco-counter.
Following the project extension, part of EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route will hopefully meet the European Certification Standard criteria and be awarded the certification label. This should be the case at least for La Vélodyssée, the French section of the route. This label will provide a serve as an assurance of the high quality and safety of this cycle route.
- Cover picture credit: EuroVelo 1 in Donegal, Ireland