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THE OFFICIAL EUROTOUR 2009 AWARDS

TRAVEL'S COMPENDIUM

The tour went well, indeed very well. Departure from Trent and arrival in Copenhagen as scheduled, return to home at the middle of August.

One of the first things which I have to say is that traveling by bicycle for a month gives unique feelings sensations, which I haven't received with shorter tours. Pedaling from the morning to the evening, day by day, at the end it seems to live in another dimension, light... lands run one after the other, at the beginning you don't realize but world is sliding fast under the weels... you see it, you are there, but maybe even you are not part of it because you move yourself continuously, what is and what you see in reality is not anymore, because it is already passed... but now there is immediately something else which comes near, to observe... and then at a certain point the "real" stop arricves, two or three fixed, stable, days, in the place which was one of the goals of the tour and that finally you reached - and then is like to be landed from the sea to the mainland, and you can rest walking and appreciating the new world where you are arrived to, in which now - yes - now you can tell to be part of it completely.

For this I can only advise you to do everything possible to be able to make long trips by bicycle, at least 3-4 weeks. Obviously, the available time is never infinite, we have to decide what to prioritize.

Some personal "technical" observations.

Trentino Alto Adige: the best cycle paths in Europe (and maybe the world?). Some German travelers reported this, and I also received the same feeling. I will come back in all future tours from Italy to the north because this region merits it. Congratulations indeed!

Austria: cycle paths are almost perfect, missing only the link with Reschenpass - ready from the Italian side - and then it's done. Good signs but sometimes are missing, so the guide book with oneself is necessary. Inn and Danube have really beautiful paths for those who prefer to ride with quiet, this year I liked the Inn Radweg too (which last year I found a bit boring), I think it was because of the sun we met.

Czech Republic, Vltava tract: cycle paths are completely absent; altimetry is not easy because of several climbs, hilly but fatiguing; always on country roads, beautiful landscapes, few cars but very very fast, such that if they catch you, you become jam; before the capital some tens km on national road with very heavy traffic. In summary, for those who consider the "relax" problem, suggestion is certainly the train Linz - Prague.

Czech Republic, Elba tract: here is a lot better, almost everything is on the path along the river, although sometimes you are just "along" the river (half a meter wide lane, right there are trees and dense shrubs, left concrete edge overlooking the water, even on rocky outcrops a few meters below, in a few words "if you fall you are ----").< br />
Germany: cycle paths almost perfect, in practice they are everywhere; their quality (signs, road surface, traffic protection) is still a bit inferior than that of our Trentino Alto Adige.

Denmark: like Germany, but with signs of superior level, impeccable. There is really always always wind from the morning to the evening! For this, to tell some example, the bus stops in open countryside are built with quasi-closed shape, and the weather forecast in a camping resort gave hourly temperature, sun and wind (intensity, direction).

And observations, always personal, about the stop locations.

Prague: a fascinating atmosphere which comes from the distant past, really rich, a bit like the Italian art cities. I've never seen so many tourists in an historic center! From the point of view of what one offers to the world of tomorrow, however, I am sorry to say but nothing appears actually. Exactly like our cities of today.

Berlin: fascinating, but for the opposite of Prague. Here the past is not really happy, and the present is an untidy open yard. What is fascinating is to see a future under construction, you feel inside a crucible of new ideas ... even if we don't see yet well what it will produce in reality, given the visual chaos that reigns supreme in practice everywhere, what is interesting is the concept itself to build novelties; thing which, in my country, is currently unknown.

Copenhagen: it seems really to square the circle of this trip. The past is full of values; the present shows a high level of aesthetics and harmony; the future is in the eye of cyclists which crowd the streets everywhere and anytime, while they move with their own forces, with the sun and with the rain, along real wide bicycle lanes, physically separated from motor vehicles.
The norm for the streets is to have on both sides 2 "platforms" on 2 different levels: the highest is for pedestrians, and the lowest is for the bikes; the road for cars is even lower. The streets with no spaces for bicycles are an exception, not the contrary.
The only problems are at the crossroads, where bikes and cars mingle necessarily; but such problems are easily forgotten, because the bike lanes at intersections are painted on the road surface in a well visible bright blue, cars are few, and drivers are respectful for nature (the Danes do not tolerate bullying by anyone - unlike what happens in other nations where instead the "smart" are accepted or even rewarded).
A document from the city says the goal is to reach 50% of cycling mobility within a few years (currently thay are at 38%), attention we are speaking about a metropolis not a village; and you can believe it, because a couple of decades ago the bike was not used by anyone in these parts, but now is the "coolest" element of the city, and this makes citizens happy and protagonist. Those people really will build the future, indeed in part they have already built it, it is there today.

Moral of the trip: I, personally, am very fond of learning. Northern Europe teach me really many things, exactly those things that are scarce in our parts. I'll be back there many times.


Many thanks to all participants, who made this wonderful adventure possible!!


F.B.

RIDERS AND MEDALS

Gold medal (2000 km)
Raul Rodera, ESP: Trent - Copenhagen
Flavio Bassi, ITA: Trent - Copenhagen
Silver medal (1000 km)
Fabio Fanoni, ITA: Trent - Prague
Bronze medal (500 km)
Lorenzo Bottazzi, ITA: Passau - Dresden
Ugo Mazzucco, ITA: Berlin - Copenhagen
Other participants
Jerry Griswold, USA: Trent - Innsbruck, retired for mechanical troubles
Travel's friends
Martin Barák, CZR: Prague - Dresden
Friends of Martin, CZR: Prague - Dresden
We renew to everyone the most heartfelt compliments on behalf of the Organizer Committee, of the Jury, of the Controllers and of the Inspectors :D, and goodbye to the next tour of Europe!
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