The word is out across the continent: Bike-cations are the new vacations.
As the most stringent lockdown restrictions lifted across Europe when the coronavirus weakened its deadly grip, the thoughts of the populous turned to a much-loved summer pastime—the bike tour.
Bike touring websites received record numbers of hits as holiday makers rushed to plan their trips along the Danube and other iconic destinations.
Sitting in a car all day had definitely lost its appeal to people who had just spent far too much time confined to the couch at home.
And jetting around in an aluminium tube squeezed in with hundreds of others was nothing to compare with being on a bike along on a path along a river amongst fields of wildflowers.
Tourism is amongst the industries to have taken the biggest economic hit from the virus, and it is recognised that the safe and sustainable nature of bike touring—locally, or further afield—with your panniers and a credit car can assist the recovery of the industry.
Bike tourism is worth about 44 billion Euros and 500,000 jobs a year.
Biker tourist have been shown to spend considerably more money locally that those who travel by car, and they often visit communities off the beaten track that don’t usually appeal to the masses in coaches.
Many of the European nations, cities and regions now have dedicated cycle tourism activities, with specialised maps, accommodation guides, and other support services.
And there is the nationally co-ordinated EuroVelo network that promotes a coordinated group of almost 90,000km or routes across Europe.
This summer many countries have also put special measures in place for cyclists. Some train system are carrying bikes for free, and in some places your luggage gets a free lift to the next town while you explore by bike.
A resource has even been created around #RestartCycleTourism to help people plan.
And it has an amazing collection of GPS files to guide you along all this great cycling routes.
With the warmer months on the horizon down under, and hopes that virus will be in recession by Christmas, we can all be hopeful of some opportunities ahead to pack the bags and spin the legs.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.