On trails never ridden before… | Opinion

For pedal enthusiasts, Portugal presents more and more challenges to satisfy the hunger for kilometers and experiences provided by, and by the way, the bicycle. The landscape and cultural variety, as well as the different types of surface and degrees of technical and physical demand of the routes that make up the cycling network Cyclin’ Portugal reaches, this year, an unprecedented and attractive amplitude, at the level of the best international destinations. And that can be proven in the Yearbook Cyclin’Portugal 2023available for free, with routes, suggestions and ideas for cycling, across this country above (and below).

In fact, in addition to the routes for road and off-road bicycles, the recent mapping of sections “gravel” (Pgravel-paved trails, also called “roads”) in several areas of the country, it has diversified the offer aimed at the various velocipedic appetites of the growing community of recreational and leisure cyclists.

Therefore, ensure proper maintenance and activation of this vast and exemplary network of over 25,000 kilometers across the country. This responsibility will fall mainly on local prosecutors, but it is important that the Central Administration ensure the necessary resources for the measure to be fulfilled. E1-9 da National Strategy for Active Cycling Mobility (ENMAC) – published almost four years ago, but still pedaling with training wheels… Ensure responsible and sustainable use of these magnificent natural trails and, above all, promote the territories they serve, given that the infrastructure of the territories is a necessary condition , but not enough, for the economic and social benefits of bicycle tourism to be felt.

Rui Oliveira

In this context, it will be crucial to reinforce the specialized training of agents and operators, along with promotion aimed at different target audiences, which it is important to know in depth, in Portugal and abroad. To this end, it is more important than ever to reinforce the articulation between the Portuguese Cycling Federation and institutional partners, public and private, involved in this strategic tourist segment, as a way of boosting the return on investment in cycle paths and other infrastructure, obtaining synergies at the level local, regional and national.

Events like the IMBA-Europe annual summit Or the European Cycling Week, which will take place in Plasencia (Spain), are good examples of the dynamics that the sector demonstrates on the European continent (and beyond). Around here, the realization of the fourth edition of the Cyclin’ Portugal forumon the 10th and 11th of March, in Arouca, is a privileged moment for the meeting of professionals, technicians, directors and enthusiasts who develop activity in this very promising area, aiming at the formulation and implementation of successful strategies and practices, the identification of challenges and ways to overcome them, and the understanding of a market that balances the old and the new.

Indeed, active tourism and cycle tourism are nothing new. The example of Marie Curie, the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize and the only person, until today, with two Nobel Prizes in different areas (Physics, in 1903, and Chemistry, in 1911)​, who celebrated their honeymoon by cycling with her husband in northern France, back in 1885 – one of several trips they both took throughout their lives, without GPS, smartphone, but only passion – is illustrative of the (enchantment) of the bicycle in a recreational context, long before the automobile swarmed our cities and mountains with (dis)enchantment. In contrast, nowadays, those who choose to “adventure” on roads and cycle trails usually prefer the comfort and safety provided by the latest information and communication technologies, customizing and amplifying their experience, according to preferences.

Perhaps it is this balance between the digital and the physicistbetween the previous knowledge and the dazzlebetween the sharing (of moments, memories and images) and the individual experience, behind the appeal felt by more and more practitioners, including families and women, to explore new territories by pedal. At your own pace.

The author writes according to the new spelling agreement

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