While the French cycle route ViaRhona struggles for support to complete many provisional sections south of Lyon, the Rhine Cycle Route is leaping forward, on target for completion this year. If you are looking for a route to cycle this year, you definitely need to add this one to your list! It’s amazing that this project began in 2011 (although some local segments had been completed), and it will be completed well before the end of this year. Hat’s off to the Demarrage partnership that has directed this cooperative venture with 18 different partners from 5 countries, and a budget of 2.3 Million Euro.
As a result of this development effort, you can now bicycle along the Rhine past the Dutch windmills to the Lorelei, through the heart of Germany and the Alsace region of France, to the Swiss Alps….on roads signposted in both directions. The final sections are being signposted, with the entire route to be completed by spring of this year. The project team will also soon be releasing a Rhine Cycle Route Handbook in four languages–German, English, French and Dutch. This comprehensive guide will provide cyclists with information on where to stay, what to see, vineyards to explore, wines to taste, as well as information on where to rent bikes, and other support services.
One of the most impressive parts of the EuroVelo 15 project is the development of the European Certification Standard. This new standard will help insure the uniform quality of the Rhine Cycle Route from one end to the other on a number of different criteria, all designed to encourage all types of cyclists to experience the route and to improve the quality of the experience for cyclists of all ability levels, utilizing any type of bicycle from hybrids to tandems to hand bikes. Use of this new standard is certain to quickly move this route to the top of many cyclists’ bucket list of rides to do, including mine!
In case you are not familiar with the details of EuroVelo 15, here are some of the key details:
- 1,233 kilometers in length, through four countries from its source in the Swiss Alps: Switzerland, France, Germany and to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands
- Includes UNESCO World Heritage sights: the Vauban Fortifications in Neuf-Brisach, the Speyer Cathedral, the Romantic Rhine in Germany, the Rock of Lorelei, the Cologne Cathedral, Augustusburg and Falkenlust Castles in Bruhl, the Convent of Saint Gaul, the city of Strasbourg and the Windmills of Kinderdijk
- Some of the best food and wines in Europe
- Suitable for cyclists of all abilities, signposted for the entire length, most of the route can be cycled on either side of the Rhine
- Seven major stages: Andermatt to Lake Constance, Lake Constance to Basel, Basel to Karlsruhe through Alsace and the German Vineyards, Karslruhe to Bingen through the vineyards, Bingen to Cologne along the Romantic Rhine, Cologne to Arnhem, Arnhem to the North Sea. You can read additional information on the stages here.
Bottom line, EuroVelo 15, the Rhine Cycle Route is shaping up to be one of the top cycling itineraries in Europe. Whether you think about cycling this itinerary in 2014 or later, it’s a route that you should stay up to date on. Watch for more updates on new resources for trip and itinerary planning. If you are planning a trip along this route this year, I hope that you will consider sending an update of your trip, or send me the link to your trip reports!