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Escaping to the countryside on a bike ride has been a joy for most of us since we were children. But with cycle pathways now criss-crossing most major cities, bicycles are used less and less to escape the daily grind but rather to journey to it. For those looking to really escape, the network offers riders the chance to get away for days at a time. Consisting of 15 long distance cycle routes that interconnect, it makes the entire European continent now accessible by bicycle.
These cycle paths allow tourists and travelers to enjoy the sights and natural wonders of the continent free from the confines of a car or train. They can wander through countries, along rivers and oceans, and see the landscape up close at a slow and leisurely pace.
The EuroVelo 6 route is a path that explores the European rivers. Connecting paths that follow sections of the Loire and the Danube Rivers, EuroVelo 6 runs from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. As one of the network’s most popular routes, cyclists are treated to stunning views of coastlines, rivers, and castles along the 4,400 km long route.
Velo tourism has become increasingly popular, receiving funding from the EU to help improve routes and accessibility for those looking to explore the European continent by bicycle. A study commissioned by the European Parliament in 2012 estimated that there are over 2.2 billion cycle tourism trips and 20 million over-night cycle trips made every year in Europe, with an estimated economic impact of €44 billion.
As a form of sustainable tourism, velo tourism helps not only improve the health and wellbeing of travelers, but works to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment, all while generating significant revenue for the countries involved.
The EuroVelo 6 cycle route traverses the width of Europe, running all the way from the Atlantic ocean to the Black Sea. The route also passes through four UNESCO sites, along six rivers, runs over 3,500 km in total, and passes through 10 different countries, each with their own unique sights to experience.
For the European Velo Stops architecture competition, participants are tasked with creating subtle and intriguing designs for rest stop cabins that can be constructed along the length of the EuroVelo 6 cycle path. The cabins should reflect the European identity, with a design aesthetic that could become iconic in its own right.
Since the cycle routes are a chance for people to get back to nature, the jury are looking for simple designs in keeping with the context. Elegant solutions that require limited resources, use recycled materials and can be replicated on a tight budget are the key.
While there is no specific location selected for this competition, designs should be applicable to various different sites along the EuroVelo 6 route. These cabins should form a new and unique, quality product for the European Union to be adapted and replicated along this route.