25 Years of EuroVelo – Laying the foundations for cycling tourism in Europe
To celebrate EuroVelo’s 25th Anniversary, 2022 saw the release of the GPX tracks download button on EuroVelo.com, a much-requested feature. Since July, GPX tracks have been available to download either for developed sections only or for full EuroVelo routes or stages. Find out more on how to use them here. It was quite a challenge to release GPX tracks for 90,000 km of cycle routes which are evolving over time with improvements and updates, but ECF managed to do it thanks to a successful collaboration with its National EuroVelo Coordination Centres.
Another gift for EuroVelo’s birthday was the launch of the #EuroVeloForYouth campaign in autumn to motivate youngsters to plan cycling trips off-season with attractive discounts in Swiss and Portuguese youth hostels. This campaign was the result of a partnership between the European Federation of Youth Hostels (EUFED) and ECF, one that we wish to continue and expand.
On 21 November 1997, the launch event of EuroVelo took place in Spain. A network of 12 long-distance cycle routes was presented with the vision of connecting Europe by bike. 25 years later, this visionary idea has become a European success story! Today, EuroVelo encompasses 17 cycle routes crisscrossing the European continent, with 64% of the 90,000 km network already ready to use. ECF hosted an online event bringing EuroVelo and cycling tourism into the spotlight to celebrate this important milestone of the European cycle route network.
With over 550 registered participants, ECF brought together 15 brilliant speakers, building an enticing program to demonstrate the great impact and potential of EuroVelo and cycling tourism and share ideas on how to further accelerate the development of the European cycle route network. Check the highlights and the video recording in this article.
The Brussels-Capital Region inaugurates the signing of EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea (Francigena)
On 23 March, a section of EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea (Francigena) was inaugurated in Brussels by Regional Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt, Member of the European Parliament Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, Visit Brussels Spokesperson Jeroen Roppe, senior officials from the European Commission, Pro Velo and the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF). With the title “Connecting Europe for a greener future”, press and Brussels’ cycling advocate communities were invited to join the inauguration.
The event kicked off at Arts-Loi (Kunst-Wet), from where participants cycled the stretch of EuroVelo 5 that goes by the EU institutions to Parc du Cinquantenaire. The speeches were followed by the unveiling of one of the signs in a key event for #MoreCyclingTourism in the city. An exciting day where we celebrated the symbolic achievement to inaugurate EuroVelo 5 signs in Brussels, de facto capital of Europe, and the home of ECF’s headquarters!
Strengthening EuroVelo’s Governance
EuroVelo would not exist without the coordinated efforts of the network of National EuroVelo Coordinator Centres (NECC/Cs) representing 23 countries.
The EuroVelo General Meeting (EVGM) is an opportunity for the NECC/Cs to catch-up with each other and share experiences and best practices. It also allows ECF to present the latest developments connected to the central coordination of EuroVelo. In 2022, representatives of NECC/Cs’ met in person and online for the largest ever EuroVelo General Meeting (EVGM) in Ljubljana that brought together over 50 international participants.
The EVGM approved the application of Austria to upgrade its status as National EuroVelo Coordination Centre, and also elected three new EuroVelo Council members: Christian Weinberger, Pinar Pinzuti and Spiros Papageorgiou.
The occasion was also the opportunity to give a farewell to Käthi Diethelm and Lukas Stadtherr, EuroVelo Council members since its establishment and to Ed Lancaster, EuroVelo Director, who stepped down after 11 years working at ECF. Jesper Pørksen took over as the new Chair of the EuroVelo Council after Käthi Diethelm’s departure.
Successful projects increasing the impacts of EuroVelo
Two projects in which ECF was involved ended in May this year: ECO-CICLE and BICIMUGI. The ECO-CICLE project aimed to improve cycling tourism in natural areas and boosted the development of several EuroVelo routes in the project’s countries. The BICIMUGI project focused on developing EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route in the transborder region between Spain and France and developing services for cyclists with a focus on inclusivity.
Additionally, project partners along EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route got together again for the extension of the AtlanticOnBike project. The extension brings together 8 partners, including Sustrans, NECC for the UK, which wasn’t part of the initial project, and covers the whole area of the route. It focuses on the update and maximisation of marketing, route development and services activities delivered in the first AoB project.
ECF continues to manage Long Term Management Agreements (LTMA) on EuroVelo 1, EuroVelo 8, EuroVelo 15 and EuroVelo 19. These projects are bringing national and regional partners together to collaborate and improve the transnational cycling tourism product further. Routes that are developed through an established LTMA see significant growth in web traffic and users.
To improve the quality of EuroVelo, ECF is also delivering the European Certification Standard (ECS), a methodology and a toolkit. 2020 saw a “EuroVelo Route Inspectors’ Training” in Brussels and refreshment courses. Find out more about the methodology here, and about the ECS training here.
Izmir to host EuroVelo & Cycling Tourism Conference 2023
Izmir, Turkiye will host the 2023 edition of the EuroVelo & Cycling Tourism Conference from 11 to 13 October on developed sections at the far east of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. Mark the dates in your calendar and stay tuned for more information! The EuroVelo Conference is the ideal opportunity to share knowledge, highlight good practices and encourage further development of EuroVelo and cycling tourism across Europe.
2023 will also see the open call for host cities and regions for the EuroVelo Conference 2024. From now on, ECF will hold Europe’s leading conference on cycling tourism every year to boost the momentum of exponential growth of the sector.