Sustainable mobility: the cycle tourism challenge

In the sustainable mobility outlook, the growth of cycle tourism represents an important answer to the actual challenges connected to the adoption of alternative types of transport.

 For cycle tourism we refer to all leisure activities and holidays outside the usual living environment, practiced through the use of the bicycle, be it short or long. In cycle tourism occurs a compression of the vertical binomial ‘route – destination’: in fact, in cycle tourism these two phases blend and coincide; the route becomes at the same time destination, and consequently the same travel time, diluted at pace of man, acquires a new spectrum. In this way, the itinerary becomes pillar of the travel experience. In the view of sustainable mobility, cycle tourism spreads its positive effects on several areas: as suggested from the German Environment Agency, from an ecological point of view it leads to the conservation of natural and landscape heritage, and so habitat protection; instead, from a social and economic point of view, cycle tourism increases the respect of local cultures and at the same time spreads positive effects on the local economies, often in places cut out from mass tourism.

Under this last outline, as reported from Enit Italia – National Agency of Tourism, it emerges that cycle tourists prefer to eat products coming from biological agriculture and cooked according to local traditions; and among the requests recorded in the Italian case, it is possible to note demands about efficient public transports, in response to mobility needs during the travel.

In this outlook, to answer to the requests of infrastructures strengthening, perspectives of sustainable development could be realized accepting, for example, retraining projects to transform abandoned and disused railways in greenways, typology of routes exclusively reserved for non-motorized journeys; in this furrow, it is operational The European Greenways Association (EGWA), established in 1998 in Belgium to encourage and promote these sustainable mobility tracks. In parallel to the EGWA it is present an observatory, the European Greenways Observatory, on whose web-site it is possible to discover the existence of these routes.

In this frame, the MoTiV app can contribute to provide an insight on the cycle tourism practices, in particular knowledge on how cycle tourists perceive mobility, value of travel time and the related experience. With reference to the MoTiV conceptual framework, it is expected that value of time for cycle tourists relates much to the perceived travel experience in terms of happiness and satisfaction. Nowadays, smartphone apps such as the MoTiV app can promote an increased users’ awareness related to mobility behaviors and decisions connected to the multiple travel possibilities.   

Lastly, an encouraging news related to the cycle-tourism phenomenon, a curious one just arrived: in occasion of the SellaRonda Bike Day,Italian event which attracts cyclists from all over Europe on the Dolomites mountains, Benjamin, a Slovak boy, managed to climb the Sella Pass together with his parents.

The child comes from Žilina, the same city of the cycling champion Peter Sagan.

* Definition of Cycle Tourism taken from "Cycle Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" by the German Environment Agency.

MoTiV Project

Project Coordinator: University of Žilina, Slovakia 
Comms & Web management: European Cyclists’ Federation ASBL