NowWeBike again! Bike for Europe 2018 tour set for September
The NowWeBike Journey of Hope tour was a hallmark event of the NowWeMOVE campaign and European Week of Sport in 2016. This September, NowWeBike is set to return to the NowWeMOVE and #BeActive calendars when two teams of four cyclists cycle together across Europe, starting separately from two points (North to West, South to East) and meeting in the middle (as symbolic gesture of solidarity and peaceful mobility). One team will start in the north of the Netherlands, in Leeuwarden, and the other in the south in Greece, in Thessaloniki.
Last weekend, ISCA and the tour’s team leaders Feridun Ekmekci, from Turkey, and Georgios Farfaras, from Greece, kicked off preparations for the 2018 Bike for Europe cross-border cycling tour in Vienna, which will feature a flagship event in the capital of the Presidency of the Council of the EU in Austria on 23 September where the cyclists will arrive to complete the tour. The organising team got a taste of the local cycling culture when they visited the Critical Mass Friday night closed-streets cycling group to meet some of the local cycling enthusiasts (pictured above).
This year, the Bike for Europe tour will involve organisations along the cycling routes who are working to integrate refugees into their communities through sporting and recreational cycling activities. But Bike for Europe tour coordinator Laura Maria Tiidla says that anyone can get involved in the tour and get behind a cause that is important to so many Europeans at a difficult and divisive moment in our history.
“I believe #BikeForEurope will offer an opportunity for Europeans to show their support towards European solidarity. Local citizens can choose different levels of involvement: joining the tour, organising local events, donating cycling kilometres or supporting local crowdfunding campaigns. Too often we only hear voices of protest against strangers, migrants and refugees, so joining this initiative could be a peaceful way to show your support for a more inclusive society,” she says.
The tour will pass through both the European Green Capital (Nijmeden) and European Capital of Culture (Leeuwarden), extending along EuroVelo routes and part of the Cycling Cities network in 11 countries in the lead-up to the European Week of Sport and contributing to the Week itself.
The leader of the South-East team for the tour, Georgios Farfaras, from Greenways Social Cooperative Enterprise in Greece, says the tour’s southern route will be both a poignant and rewarding journey for his team.
“The South-East team will cycle along the closed so called ‘Balkan’ route of refugees and we hope to spread the message for support and recognise the suffering in their desperate journeys. We hope to activate more sports clubs and organisations in our tour along the way. The bicycle is an easy and economical way to provide opportunities for physical activity and social interaction, commuting and freight-carrying, even for family recreation or tourism,” he says.
The Bike for Europe tour is co-funded by the European Commission as a Not-for-Profit European Week of Sport Event. ISCA will re-launch the NowWeBike website soon, where you can find out more information about the tour, get involved and show your support.
Revisit the NowWeBike Journey of Hope and stay tuned for more news from Bike for Europe 2018.