Planning: European Cyclists’ Federation – EuroVelo

I am back trying to see if I can make some sense of the Eurovelo routes, especially Route 1 North to South (Sagres in Portugal).  From the ECF Site I found this advice:

5 top tips for Planning a EuroVelo trip

“You’ve booked your leave, bought your panniers and cancelled the milk delivery but you’re still a little unsure what to do next?  Never fear; the ECF may not be a travel agency but we can give you some ideas for planning your next cycle holiday.  Set out below are our 5 top tips for ensuring that you make the most of your precious time off:

1.       Planning

Make sure that you plan your route in detail in advance.  Whilst it may sound fun to head wherever the wind takes you, such an approach can lead to difficulties – and long diversions – out on the road.  The EuroVelo Map [provide link] can be a good starting point, as this is based wherever possible on national and regional cycle routes.  The ADFC also provides useful overview information on cycle touring in different countries on their website. 

Once you have decided on which area you would like to visit, you should then plan your route in more detail.  For this type of information it is worth contacting our National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators who often have up-to-date information on their cycle routes and in some cases have developed their own GPS information, which is available for downloading.  At the very least, they should be able to recommend a good map for the areas that you would like to visit. 

In addition, some cycle routes have their own dedicated websites, including EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic to the Black Sea and EuroVelo 12 – The North Sea Cycle Route.

It is also worth booking accommodation in advance wherever possible.  Again, our National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators should be able to help with this.  Many have started to operate bed +bike schemes that recognise service providers that make a special effort to cater for cycle tourists (e.g. Fietsers Welkom in the Netherlands).

2.       Safety

Although a night in a foreign jail might provide some good anecdotes to tell your grandchildren, you ideally don’t want to have brushes with the law on your holidays, so be aware of the national road codes in the countries through which you are travelling.  Unfortunately, there is no one-stop-shop for this at the moment, so you will have to check country by county but the ECF’s Member Organisations [see http://www.eurovelo.org] should be able to help point you in the right direction. The European Commission also has an interactive map with road regulations in the EU27 that may be of use. 

It is also worth getting in some practice in beforehand, particularly if you do not ride regularly.  Start with some short daily rides and build up to longer weekend trips that will cover the kind of distances that you will cycle on tour.  The average cycle tourist typically covers 50-60km a day, taking into account refreshment breaks, sightseeing stops etc. 

3.       Equipment

Many of our Member Organisations [provide link] provide advice on purchasing the right equipment (e.g. CTC in the UK).  It is important to do a little research before you buy otherwise you can make an expensive mistake, which could cause you problems (and pains!), invariably when you’re miles from the nearest settlement. 

4.       Combining Bike with Train

This is the ideal combination for environmentally friendly mobility in short-and long-distance traffic. Most locations in Europe are accessible by train and by booking in advance some cheap fares can be found.  Many trains are now equipped with special bicycle areas (although unfortunately not all).  You will usually have to make a reservation in advance.

Some of the best websites for planning a train journey with your bike are Deutsche Bahn, SBB and SNCF.

5.       Keep an eye out for EuroVelo.com

Next year the ECF is hoping to develop EuroVelo.com, a public website for people who wish to cycle parts of the European cycle route network.  The website will have suggested itineraries, features on specific routes and links to further information.  You will hear about it first through the ECF website.”

via European Cyclists’ Federation – EuroVelo.