The Eurovelo network is growing again with the announcement of the Blue Velo Cycle Route Project as part of EuroVelo 9, the Baltic to Adriatic route.
On the 20th April, the Marshal of Lubusz Province Elżbieta Anna Polak, together with the Marshals of other regions of Western Poland and Silesia, met in Wrocław to sign the agreement for the construction of the Blue Velo Bicycle Route. This 1000 km long route will follow the course of the Oder river from its source in the Czech Republic to its mouth at the Baltic coast and will form part of the EuroVelo 9 – Baltic-Adriatic.
The construction of the new route is financed by regional and EU funding, and it is a truly European project because of the route of the river, taking its source in the Sudetes, a mountain range at the border between Poland, Germany and Czech Republic, and later flowing along the border between Poland and Germany. To reflect this international aspect, Czech and German partners will be involved, along with the project’s coordinators Alexandra Stasiak and Radoslaw Lesisz from the Wrocław IRT Institute (Institute for Territorial Development).
One of the priorities in the development of the route is to meet the European Certification Standard (ECS), which serves as a quality assessment tool for national or regional routes. Part of the Blue Velo Cycle Route is already under construction: the mouth of the river in Western Pomerania, where the Oder flows into the Baltic Sea.
The signing took place during the Bicycle Metropolitan Forum being held in Wrocław. The theme of this Forum was sustainable mobility in the urban centres of the region. The event helped to emphasise the importance of the Blue Velo cycle route project for the development of cycling tourism in the regions of Western Poland. It can also provide a sustainable mean of transportation between settlements and help to fight pollution along the Oder river.
Meanwhile, cycling part of the Eurovelo North Sea route this weekend here in the UK, it was difficult at times to find and follow our national cycle route signs and there was not one single EuroVelo logo anywhere. With cycling tourism such massive business – far bigger than the cruise industry in terms of annual spend – it is disappointing and frustrating that there is no funding or support from local, regional or national government for signing, let alone meeting the European Certification standard.