I posted yesterday that I was thinking of removing part of the route and avoiding Brussels and most of Belgium. It does make sense on all levels apart from the one that wants me to tick the box of having followed the route of the Eurovelo 5. George Jemmott comments as follows;
Best reason I can think of to go to Brussels is that the ECF office is there. Then again, talking to them didn’t enlighten anything about the route other than just how little they know about it. Also, as you read and re-posted earlier, there is no bike path through France between Luxembourg and Strasbourg.
George’s first point might be worth pondering over if the ECF (the European Cyclists Federation, based in Brussels and responsable for the Eurovelo network of routes) had taken any time in showing the slightest interest in what I and others are doing. I’m sure they are very nice people and very good at getting funds to produce glossy brochures and development plans but until they start engaging with the grass roots (I originally spelt that “routes”; I have cycling on the brain!), they will always fall short of what they purport to be in their name. Sorry folks, it’s the impression I get (and if you read this and want a right to reply, I’d love you to do so!). I think, when originally considering the route think that a trip to Brussels would include at least a cycle past their office and brief hello through the window but my enthusiasm for doing that now has waned somewhat.
George’s second point is worth pondering over as he speaks from experience (he cycled from Milan to Calais just a few weeks ago and wrote about it on his blog). However, as George himself was happy to point out at the time, he didn’t prepare the route in advance in sufficient detail to know where he would be cycling each day (again, correct me if I am wrong George!). He is right in saying that there is no cycle route through France between Luxembourg and Strasbourg but this is further south than the “kink” and I am happy to meander the border towns between France and Belgium, then Luxembourg, then Germany before arriving in Strasbourg. The picture, from the French Voies Vertes site shows the official routes that currently exist in France; certainly far short of a continuous line from Calais to Strasbourg that I might wish for.
A straight(ish) line charge for Strasbourg it is then!