Where can you catch the start of the Bike for Europe tour?


On 1 September Bike for Europe will kick off and start pedalling towards Vienna, Austria, travelling through 11 different nations on a journey that aims not only to inspire people to get on their bikes and get moving in a fun way, but also to encourage communities to take action and build networks between citizens, sport clubs and refugee organisations. Through this we can make a more inclusive European society, together!

The departure points for the two teams are at the opposite ends of Europe, but even though they are over 2,000km apart, they have vastly different histories, different cultures and different climates. The Drenthe region in the Netherlands and Thessaloniki in Greece are both perfect starting points for the tour for different reasons.

Drenthe the start of the North Team’s adventure

Assen, the cosy capital of the North Eastern Dutch province Drenthe, may be best known for motorcycling, with the TT Circuit of Assen being known to many as “The Cathedral” of motorbike racing. But the area also has an extremely rich two-wheel history in regards to the non-motorised variety of bikes! The North Team will depart from the biggest city in the “cycling province” on the same roads that generations of cycling fans know and love. Two of the largest cycling events in the Netherlands take place in the region every year.

The Fietsvierdaagse is a four-day long cycling event that takes place each year across the Netherlands, with a different course each day where recreational cyclists of all abilities and ages can ride at their own pace. The most famous of these events is the Drentse Fiets 4daagse, which takes place in the province of Drenthe every July, and attracts over 10,000 people from all around the world! The International Jeugtour Assen is also a landmark event on the cycling calendar, being the biggest youth cycling race held in Europe, with six days of varied racing between the best young cyclists from around the world, both male and female. Many participants have gone on to have great success in professional cycling. Assen was also part of the 2009 Vuelta a España, one of only three of cycling’s “Grand Tours.”

Drenthe is also working towards becoming the healthiest region in the Netherlands, and has been awarded the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Bike Region Label for their efforts in promoting both professional and recreational cycling within the region.

The North Team will get to enjoy some of this rich cycling culture when they join in with multiple events organised by our partner organisations the Province of Drenthe and Sports Drenthe. On September the team will join a recreational bike tour in the town of Norg, where over 2000 people are expected to attend as part of the celebrations for the tour getting underway. There will also be a pre-tour event the day before Bike for Europe kicks off, where the North Team will get involved in the “Trappen, Happen & Stappen”, an innovative four day festival in Hoogeveen combining bikes and culture. Previous editions included food, music, other sports, cycling innovation and of course multiple scenic bike tours!

Thessaloniki sends South Team on its big journey

Thessaloniki, nestled in the Thermaic Gulf, is the beautiful, historic, second city of Greece. It is a place where the past echoes around every corner, even if much of the physical history of the area has been destroyed by war, conquest, fire, and short-sighted town-planners in the 19th and 20th century. It is also one of the places within Europe which has been a melting pot for different cultures and societies since the beginning of written history, a fact which makes it an ideal place symbolically for the South Team to begin their adventure.

The waterfront is one of the more beautiful places to cycle in Europe, and as a city it has far better cycling infrastructure than many areas in Southern Europe, with around 15km of bike lanes in built up areas. We can only hope that Bike for Europe can encourage even more people on the Aegean coast to start pedalling!

The South Team will be involved in numerous events to kick off Bike for Europe. A pre-tour event will take place where the team will cycle to Olympia, taking 23 olive trees – the symbol of peace and friendship – with them to plant on the route. The Team will also visit cities that work with the UN Refugee Agency accommodation projects, and at the Thessaloniki kick-off there will be many fun and inclusive events for people of all ages, including a bike parade, a slowbiking contest, yoga for children, aerobic fitness sessions for children, and a skateboarding, rollerblading, scootering and BMX exhibition!

Our partner organisation in Greece, Greenways Social Co-operative Enterprise, has also organised a fundraiser to raise money to help refugees fix their bicycles and be active! You can contribute to the initiative below.

Contribute to fundraiser: https://gogetfunding.com/help-refugees-in-greece-get-bicycles-and-be-active/

Our two teams are already raring to go, and cannot wait to meet the locals, and get involved in the kick-off events in both cities, which promise to be fun, healthy, inclusive and inspiring, while helping refugees and promoting inclusion within Europe.

You will find all the relevant information about the opening event in Thessaloniki at http://nowwebike.nowwemove.com/event-thessaloniki/

Find BFE events: http://nowwebike.nowwemove.com/events/

Donate your KM’s: http://nowwebike.nowwemove.com/contribute/