How will you travel this summer? Many of us are asking ourselves trying to find interesting alternatives to our usual ways of getting to know places and cultures. The global health emergency will in fact change, at least for most of the year, our idea of tourism. But this does not mean it can’t do it for the better. All this will certainly lead to choosing closer destinations, to discover the innumerable beauties of your country, with slower and less frenetic journeys, to be organized with simpler and finally sustainable means. Like, for example, the bicycle.
For several years, in fact, Bike Tourism has been going through a flourishing period, stimulated by fascinating tourist offers and by a network of increasingly efficient road services – from overnight accommodations to assistance solutions along the chosen itineraries. Already in 2012, with a study commissioned by the European Parliament, it was estimated that more than 2.2 billion bicycle tours were organized in Europe every year. A trend that has seen an increasingly positive trend over time and which, even in the next season, may be able to drive a large part of the tourism sector, at least within its national borders.
To diversify and expand the audience of cycling enthusiasts is also the constantly growing use of e-bikes, electric bikes, which also allow bikers with more advanced age or for whom physical training is not an indispensable condition to venture easily on a journey on two wheels. According to CONEBI (Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry), this is confirmed by the ever-growing sale of electric models in the major European markets: first of all, the German one, where demand grew by 37% in the first half of 2019, with 920,000 units; almost the same number of the total sales achieved by this country in 2018.
Bike Tourism: a choice of #greenperforming
So where will Bike Tourism take us in 2020? Certainly in less distant places, but with a more sustainable approach to the environment that we are going to explore. Today, in fact, cycling is a popular choice not only among fans of sports on two wheels, but also by those who want to experience an alternative and unconventional way of traveling. By those who prefer to use “greener” means of transport by experiencing an experience that economically enhances the local territories, their identity and their history, safeguarding nature.
From an analysis conducted by Isnart-Unioncamere and Legambiente in early 2020 on the trends of pedal tourism, it is said that the use of the bicycle saves the emission of 1.5 million tons of CO2 every year. An excellent reason to embrace slow tourism, designed to savor any place more calmly and with greater awareness, combining the love of sport with the spirit of adventure and the thirst for knowledge, with a deep respect for the environment.
All this is #greenperforming, the philosophy of those who have a sporty heart and marry a responsible life style, of those who think that maintaining maximum physical performance, even during a bike ride, should never be without attention to our Planet and the sustainability of what we use and wear.
The comfort of those traveling by bike
Think of the feeling of extreme freedom that you finally feel at traveling at your own pace, bringing only the bare essentials with you: the technical equipment, maybe the personal items you can’t do without and the right clothes, the ones you will help to cope with any climatic conditions.
Cycle tourists are a varied world, which goes from those who undertake long days, weeks or even months excursions. Each bicycle trip is therefore the result of a precise organization, from the choice of places to the logistics. You will have to think carefully about everything you might need during the journey, intelligently managing your spaces, the quantity of objects and clothing that will accompany you. In this case, paying attention first of all to the season in which you start and all weather variables.
You certainly cannot leave out the importance of dressing comfortable garments, able to follow your body for a long time, such as those made with stretch fabrics, but at the same time resistant to cope with the risk of possible abrasions caused by a fall and the need to cross different natural environments (from the mountains, to the countryside, to the sea …).
Another factor not to be underestimated is the breathability of a technical garment: its ability to maximize the evaporation of sweat produced during movement thanks to the presence of fibers that allow proper ventilation without retaining moisture. But also the waterproofing of a textile – which is of the first or second layer – useful in case of rain or bad weather. All features that allow you to keep your body temperature comfortable and constant in all external conditions.
If you have a Bike Tourism experience this summer – from seaside resorts to those in the high mountains – you will have to remember to choose textiles that always ensure correct protection from UV rays, both for the body and the head. Finally, the ease of drying: not being able to bring many changes with you, having clothes that can dry quickly after washing allows you to save time during stops and to always be able to wear clean and tidy items before leaving for the next stop.
In all this cases, however, remember to pay attention – as a true “greenperformer” – to how the garments you choose have been made, from the use of sustainable yarns to the controlled and responsible processes with which they are treated, respecting the health of those who wears them and nature itself.
Tips & Insights
If at this point you are ready to go, here are some online resources to consult to better organize your bike-travel:
Bikesquare – platform dedicated to cycle tourism and sustainable tourism where you can find information to rent bikes, traditional or electric, on accommodation and tourist itineraries.
Bikepacking – a portal for international cycling tourism, with ideas and advice on equipment, itineraries, events and travel stories “by bike”.
ECF – European Cycling Federation, European reference point for national organizations and networks that promote cycling as a means of transport and sustainable tourism