Like Chris Packham of Springwatch fame, I love a good graph or visual that says something in one glance that would take a thousand words to explain. And the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) – the Brussels-based organisation that is responsible for the EuroVelo network – has just produced its first ever ‘Route Development Report‘. Basically, it’s a ‘state of the nation’ address but limited to the EuroVelo long-distance cycle routes rather than the less important topics such as education, health and defence…
ARE YOU PLANNING TO CYCLE ONE OF THE EUROVELO ROUTES IN SUMMER 2021, OR IS IT JUST TOO EARLY? TELL US ABOUT YOUR PLANS AT THE FOOT OF THIS POST.
One key question that people ask regarding the EuroVelo routes is to what extent they actually exist as good quality cycle routes and not just lines on a map. Well, here’s your answer in one simple graphic:
Well, it’s kind-of your answer. As ever, things are a little more complicated than that. What do the ECF mean by ‘developed’. Here’s what they say in the report:
“This year’s data shows that 60% of the network (51,538 km) is either developed (21%), meaning the routes feature signage in line with the respective national standard and a website providing information to users; developed with EuroVelo signs(36%), meaning its signage incorporates EuroVelo route information panels too; or certified (3%), meaning the route has successfully undergone the certification process in line with the European Cyclists’ Federation’s (ECF) European Certification Standard. This corresponds to EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route, the first certified EuroVelo route.”EuroVelo Development Report
So by ‘developed’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can expect a segregated cycle path but it does mean that at least you should know where the route is and where it is going. It’s all a far cry from where the network was when I first stumbled across it back in 2008 when planning my cycle along the EuroVelo 5 to southern Italy. When cycling the route in 2010 I didn’t spot any EuroVelo signs for the route and some sections were decidedly vague, especially in Italy. The situation has clearly improved since and perhaps over the course of the next ten years we can look forward to more than just the Rhine Cycle Route being ‘certified’ as a route.
Here are a few more facts and figures from the report that will keep you dreaming of the time when we are all free, once again, to travel across Europe on our bicycles:
- 23 countries with EuroVelo signs across Europe – that’s over 33,000 km of EuroVelo signage!
- 7 routes developed at 75% or more.
- EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route is the most developed EuroVelo route, being also certified at 72%. It is followed by EuroVelo 17 – Rhone Cycle Route, EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route and EuroVelo 14 – Waters of Central Europe, all developed and 100% signposted with EuroVelo signs. Then comes EuroVelo 12 – North Sea Cycle Route, with 97% of overall development.
- Switzerland is the country with the highest level of development of the EuroVelo network (100%), followed by France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Austria. Details about the classification’s logic can be found in the report.
- EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route is the longest EuroVelo route with 11,174 km, followed by EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail(10,433 km) and EuroVelo 10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route (9154 km).
- Germany is the country with the biggest portion of the network (10 routes – 9806 km), followed by France (10 routes – 8806 km) and the United Kingdom (4 routes – 6232 km).
You can read the full report in all its visual glory by following this link.
Image credits: The European Cyclists’ Federation
Whichever EuroVelo you choose, how about a new cycling t-shirt from Vectorbomb?