Five cities and regions awarded UCI Bike City label
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is pleased to announce that five cities and regions have been awarded UCI Bike City status, thanks to their commitment to grow and promote everyday cycling, as well as hosting UCI major cycling events. The successful cities and regions are: Fyn, Denmark; Gelderland, the Netherlands; Heusden-Zolder, Belgium; Woensdrecht, the Netherlands and Yorkshire, Great Britain.
The UCI Bike City label aims to recruit cities and regions that can act as inspiring examples of how cycling can help to create better, safer and more active communities. In 2016, three cities and regions received the label: Bergen, Norway; Drenthe, the Netherlands; and Limburg-Valkenburg, the Netherlands.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “We are very pleased to expand our network of UCI Bike Cities and Regions and I would like to congratulate the five new recipients for the excellent work they carry out in their respective communities to develop cycling in all its forms. They are shining examples of what can be achieved. We look forward to promoting their ambitious projects and hope these will inspire other countries to develop bike-friendly environments for their communities and visitors.”
About the winners
After a round of the 2017-2018 Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, the 2019 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will also be held in Bogense, on the island of Fyn. The region of Fyn, Langeland and Ærø recently launched an ambitious cycling tourism strategy called Bike Island 2020; its aim is to become the most attractive cycling holiday destination in northern Europe from 2020 and generate additional annual revenues of DKK 200 million through cycle tourism. The strategy includes 12 major initiatives focused on increasing the levels of cycling within the region. These include infrastructure improvements, new tourism partnerships and initiatives, strategic partnerships, as well as targeted communications and branding.
Every year, each of the municipalities on the island of Fyn implements plans focused on improving infrastructure and transport safety. Since 2009, the city of Odense (the largest city in the region) has been working on an ambitious traffic and mobility plan to significantly change its infrastructure and increase sustainable modes of transport. From 2009 to 2012, Odense was the official ‘national bike city’ in Denmark, and in 2015 it was appointed the country’s number one ‘Bike friendly municipality’. The region of Fyn also hosts numerous elite and recreational cycling events every year, which include the Fyen Rundt, the Bissen mountain bike race, track cycling events and stages of the Tour of Denmark.
Gelderland, The Netherlands
Each year, the province of Gelderland welcomes a round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup to Papendal. In 2018, it will host the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, three years after organising the 2015 Para-Cycling Track World Championships in the same velodrome. Cycling is a key part of the mobility policy of the Province of Gelderland, whose main target is to offer cyclists good and safe infrastructure to promote bicycle use. Its cycle track policy for the coming years is focused on the development of fast cycling routes, as well as the implementation and improvement of regional interconnected cycling routes including those serving schools.
Significant investments have been and continue to be made to improve the quality of the cycling route network, and increase its appeal for tourists: the tourist bicycle network in Gelderland spans some 6,000 kilometres. The Province of Gelderland manages 1,200 kilometres of provincial roads, of which more than 90% have a separate cycling infrastructure. In partnership with the regional body Road Safety East Netherlands, the province also organises and supports numerous educational activities and campaigns to stimulate safe cycling amongst bike users of all ages. More than 90 recreational cycling events took place in Gelderland in 2017; major mass participation events include the Ronde van Nijmegen, Jan Janssen Classic and Vael Ouwe.
Heusden-Zolder hosts annual rounds of the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup and of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup. In 2019, they will also host the UCI BMX World Championships. Their cycling policy is focused on three main areas: sport, tourism and daily use. The city is a strong partner in all community sports events, in addition to supporting important investments in cycling infrastructure and initiatives to promote bike safety. Cycling facilities for tourists are continuously being improved, creating important links between sports events and tourism.
The city recently completed three different projects to improve bike lanes and bicycle junctions, while upcoming projects include new protected bike lanes, a levelled bicycle highway, a UCI-standard velodrome at Circuit Zolder, and more charging stations for e-bikes located next to local cycling routes and cycling cafes. Many mass participation events for road, mountain bike and BMX are hosted in the city. These include the “24 Hours of Cycling.” In addition, the “Avondfietsen” on the Circuit Zolder, gives people the opportunity to ride on a closed track three times a week, 50 weeks a year.
Woensdrecht, The Netherlands
Hoogerheide, at the centre of Woensdrecht, has a long history of hosting the annual UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The municipality of Woensdrecht established an ambitious cycling plan for the period 2016-2020. Its aim is to strengthen and expand local cycling opportunities and the cycling community. Initiatives to achieve this include the expansion of recreational route networks, themed routes with bicycle facilities, infrastructure and facilities for competitive cyclists, support for elite athletes’ education, as well as the promotion of physical activity among the elderly, the disabled and low-income communities.
The municipality of Woensdrecht has a multi-year programme for the maintenance of roads, which includes plans to expand cycling infrastructure and increase the safe use of cycling paths. Their road safety policy focuses on vulnerable traffic and has a different theme every year aimed at promoting alertness on the road. The municipality also organises annual road sense courses for elementary school students. Every year, cycling races are organised in the five centres of Woensdrecht, both for youth and licence-holders, in addition to mountain bike tours for recreational athletes.
Yorkshire, Great Britain
Yorkshire will host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. Hosting the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ inspired Yorkshire to deliver a wide range of cycling legacy projects, led by its destination management organisation Welcome to Yorkshire. Cycle Yorkshire was thus launched as a not-for-profit organisation to ensure that coordinated, multi-year cycling strategies were implemented across its 22 Local Authorities, all of which dedicate annual budget specifically to cycling, that target events, infrastructure, training, education and tourism. Improvements in cycling infrastructure have been widespread in recent years, with many more plans in place for further improvement.
Yorkshire currently holds more mass participation and closed-road cycling events that any other county in the UK. Most children in Yorkshire aged between 9 and 11 are taught practical skills and how to ride confidently by taking part in the nationwide Bikeability cycle training programme. Welcome to Yorkshire has also launched 46 Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries which enable children to rent bikes free of charge and provide community hubs which offer safe, guided rides as well as bike skills and maintenance courses. The aim is to give every child in Yorkshire access to a bike.