08 October 2010

Cycle Touring Film Festival

Quintessential Denmarkishness
I'm off to Catalunya this weekend, to be a jury member at the Cycle Touring Film Festival being held in conjunction with the Cycle & Walking Tourism Conference in Palafrugell & Begur on the Costa Brava.

Bornholm Bicycle Ferry
While most of my work deals with increasing bicycle traffic in cities through infrastructure and positive marketing, I have been in the loop about cycle tourism on many of the visits I've made to other cities and regions. It's an interesting area of growth. Some countries are investing heavily in cycle tourism and Germany is the grand old man in the industry. Czech Republic and Hungary, too, are focusing on getting more cycle tourists to visit their regions.

I'm looking forward to networking about this growth area.
Denmark - The Country for your Holiday
Denmark has a long tradition as a cycle touring destination, as the poster above attests. It dates from the late 1940's and shows how Denmark was keen on attracting the British - then the world's most enthusiastic cycle tourists - to this country.

At another conference in Catalunya last April I had the pleasure of meeting a Dane - Jens-Erik Larsen - who was responsible for the idea of creating the world's first national cycle route network. He now works on the development of the impressive EuroVelo route system. Read more about that in this earlier post.

As for me, I'll be on the beach, in the cinema and attending a Cycle Chic party.


Joe said...

It's true Germany has invested a huge amount of money in promoting their country as a cycling destination. We, at a Spanish cycling association, also received contacts from a representative from the Black Forest trying to seel their region as a bicycle paradise.

However, as we pointed them out, there are 2 big problems to promote any European country as a cycling destination for foreigners:

-the european rail network is extremmely fragmented. It's a nightmare to travel from one country to another, nearly impossible if you're crossing two. Also, the conditions for bike transport are very diverse, so you might have to wait long periods until the next "bike-friendly" train arrives, if any. (Spain is particularly bad in this regard)

-more and more airlines are charging ridiculous fees for transporting bikes. The example of Germany-Spain is clear. Lufthansa charges 70 EUR per flight (140 on a return flight) and Iberia 75 EUR (so 150 for a return trip).

Therefore, apart from good for the environment (flights are terrible for CO2), it really pays off to stay local for your cycling holidays...

colinut said...

Hearing you talk about possible Hungarian Investment towards encouraging more cyclo-tourism in their country brought back some of the darkest memories...
We did a charity ride this summer from England to Romania (RideAcross.eu) and Hungary was an absolute nightmare to cycle through.
I never ever, in all the countries I've ever been, have felt so bullied and intimidated by drivers. The roads are a disaster anywhere outside Budapest. This is a pity as Budapest itself is a beautiful city and an oasis of bike culture.
In the end the inevitable happened and a Hungarian driver, annoyed that we were riding two abreast on a very quiet country lane, rammed his car intentionally into to back of one of my friends' bike.
Police came, laughed at us and told us to move on...
The Puszta is a very dangerous and lonely place for cyclists.
I'm sorry for the rant, I just couldn't help it. The whole thing was just a horrible experience.

Rest of Europe, however: TOP MARKS!
Germany was almost as good as Holland :)

Nuresma said...

Have a nice day in Catalunya! We are a nice country!
I'm sure your opinions will be very interesting for this festival.

Adéu! ;)

melon. said...

the #cyclechicparty.

Péter Dalos said...

I got really dissapointed reading colinut's comment because I can not deny anything he/she happened to experience in our country. On the other hand there has been and still is a flourushing utility cycling culture on the countryside as well as a reneissance of urban cycling in the larger cities. Many stakeholders of the Hungarian (and other East-European) cycling scene work hard to show the way towards the good examples abroad and do their best to revive our society's ruined emphatic, social and sustainable (can we call all that "cyclist-friendly"?) attitude. I may promote one of the most detailed English language document about the East-Europe-specific challenges of the development of cylcling. Made by the ever supporting PSWE-team.

lagatta à montréal said...

The rail problems are exactly the kind of thing that has to be sorted out to promote cycling holidays.

As for rail vs air, of course rail should be preferred and promoted by public authorities as well as in tour promotion, but it would be a good idea to start out by eliminating intra-continental flights.

Maggie said...

Very cool that you're a jury member at the film festival. Enjoy the weekend!

Ocell said...

Could you post your thoughts about cycling in Catalunya as tourist? I think it would be very interesting for us on how do you see our country and it's emerging cycling culture.

Alberto Blanco said...

moc, moc, moc, mistaaaake !!!

Barcelona, Spain