Basel – not Fawlty where Bikes are concerned!
By Colm Ryder
I have just returned from an eye opening and wonderful trip to Basel in Switzerland, which straddles the international borders of Switzerland, Germany and France, and is built around the River Rhine.
The main purpose of the trip was twofold:
- The launch of the fully certified Rhine Cycle Route – EuroVelo 15, all of 1320km, from Andermatt in the Swiss Alps to Rotterdam in the Nederlands, as it enters the North Sea.
- A meeting of EuroVelo Coordination Groups from around Europe and the presentation and initial training for EuroVelo delegates in the route certification process.
I attended these workshops with our colleague Doug Corrie from the Irish Sports Council /National Trails Office. We have been working in tandem with other agencies on the standards for Cycle Routes here in Ireland, but the certification process for EuroVelo includes much more than just physical standards. It also includes services and facilities available along the route, route marketing, signage, and even levels of ‘attractiveness’!
But throughout 4 days of getting around Basel by bike, it was a pleasure to report that not a single pothole was encountered, and Cycling is a major priority for the city. At present Basel has a cycle mode share of 20% and growing. Cycling is visible everywhere, from on-street cyclists to extensive cycle parking at all facilities such as cinemas, shops restaurants etc. And with a population of approximately 200,000 it has a major train station cycle parking complex catering for over 4,000 bikes! Compare this to Dublin, with over 1million population!?
Can Dublin begin to get there!?
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