Creating a cycle route in Atlantic Pyrenees region
Through cross-border cooperation, the Circuldouce project created a bicycle route from Bayonne in France to Pamplona in Spain.
" The project adopted a very collaborative approach, with lots of constructive discussions. Collaborative work is continuing and resulting in new projects that assess the potential for cycling and estimate the economic benefits to the area. "
As a result of the project, a total of 70 km of public road are now accessible exclusively to non-motorised traffic. The emphasis was on creating a common visual identity for the route, with common signs, a tourist database, a website, and information booklets. In urban areas, roadside spaces were adapted to accommodate cyclists, hikers, skaters and the disabled.
The route is especially important for sustainable tourism in the region. It also gives local residents the opportunity to adopt a new mode of transport in an area with very high traffic, especially during the summer. Such a move helps reduce the negative environmental impact of the road.
In order to raise awareness of the need for sustainable development, Circuldouce carried out an information campaign. The project even opened an information centre at a former customs building in Bidosoa. This centre informs visitors of the history of the trans-border route and the value of the surrounding environment.
The Atlantic Pyrenees region is popular with tourists, and it is expected that the non-motorised route will encourage visitors to the coastal areas to also explore inland areas, thus boosting local economies. The added focus on cycling is also expected to extend the tourism season, as cycling holidays tend to be taken in the spring and the autumn.
“The local public are very proud of this cycling route,” says Laurence Pauly from the General Council of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, which managed the project. “It is located on EuroVelo1, which runs from the North Cape to the south of Portugal, along the European Atlantic coast. This is the longest cycling route proposed by the European Cyclist Federation and some territories have already set up sections or developed plans to promote tourism in their own regions.”
With Circuldouce, the General Council of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques took the initiative to build a partnership gathering all the regional actors of the EV1. Cross-border cooperation is ongoing and has led to a follow-up project, ‘The EuroVelo1, European tourist destination of excellence’.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “CIRCULDOUCE - creation of a greenway between Bayonne and Pampelune (part of the Eurvelo 1)” was EUR 8 049 000, of which the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributed EUR 5 232 000 from the Operational Programme “France, Spain and Andorra” for the 2007 to 2013 period.