Whether you’re crossing a city or a continent, the journey starts with a single pedal stroke. With EuroVelo, the European network of cycle routes, your ride can reach far beyond your commute. Here’s how.
A long-distance journey might not be as daunting as you may think. On a conventional bike, you can easily cover 70 to 100 kilometers per day on flat or gently undulating terrain, including plenty of time to stop and relax. To fuel such an endeavor, you would generally need to consume upwards of 2,000-3,000 calories per day in addition to your regular daily caloric intake. Eating is what keeps cyclists on the move and is one of the most pleasurable parts of long-distance cycling!
If pedaling that far under your own power is too much of a challenge, e-bikes can considerably expand your range. For instance, the SHIMANO STEPS E5000 e-bike drive unit has an estimated range of up to 75 kilometers in Eco mode – depending on varying conditions such as weight, terrain, temperature, and cycling style. The convenience of assisted cycling allows you to cover longer distances and tackle more difficult hills without demanding an excessive energy expenditure, meaning you’ll still have the energy and enthusiasm to explore your destination after a day of cycling.
Eurovelo 5: Via Romea
Stood on a busy but attractive junction in Brussels close to the Jardin Mont des Arts and the central station, we are a little over 200km from the start of EuroVelo 5 in Cambridge, England and nearly 3000km from its end in Brindisi, Italy.
EuroVelo 5 crosses seven different countries: The UK, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It is made up of 11 separate sections that link together to create a continuous 3,200 km route. Brussels marks the end of the first stage of the route from Canterbury to Brussels and the start of the second stage that joins two of the capitals of the EU: Brussels and Strasbourg. The 400 km Belgian section of EuroVelo 5 is the Cycle Route of the Year 2023!
EuroVelo is the European cycle route network – a network of 17 long-distance cycle routes that cross and connect the whole continent. The network is developed and coordinated by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF). EuroVelo routes have their own distinctive sign featuring the 12 stars of the European flag on a dark blue background, surrounding the number of the EuroVelo route you are following. Relying on physical signposts can be tricky, especially in more rural areas, but all of the routes are available as GPX files to download from the EuroVelo website.
The multi-day trip is the natural extension of your daily commute or long weekend ride. Cycling enthusiasts make a mind-boggling 2.3 billion cycle tourism trips in Europe every year. A 2012 study commissioned by the European Parliament showed that 20.4 million cycle tourists stay away from home for one or more nights of their journey.
On long-distance routes, you cycle through many different landscapes at a speed that allows you to absorb and observe the changes in your surroundings, moving gradually from the familiar to the extraordinary as you go beyond your usual cycling range.
Here in Brussels, the surroundings of shops, the greenery of the park and the movement of people on bikes and in cars is just one snapshot of a route that encompasses some truly diverse and captivating landscapes. From the quaint cobblestone streets of Canterbury to the traditional Trulli houses in Puglia, cycling the EuroVelo5 route is a journey across time, regions, and cultures.
Swerve the office for the day and follow the route out of Brussels past Chateau La Hulpe and head for the fascinating city of Namur, the capital of Wallonia. Then, enter the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg after crossing the Belgian Ardennes. Continue south to ride through the rolling hills and picturesque vineyards of Champagne and Lorraine in France, taking in the rich history imprinted in the soil. Continuing, the route draws you into the majesty of the Swiss Alps, a sweeping panorama of snow-capped peaks and crystal-blue lakes.
Further on in Italy, the journey takes you through the romantic landscapes of Tuscany and Umbria, sun-kissed vineyards, cypress trees, and medieval hilltop towns. A journey like this is nothing short of a great outdoor museum steeped in art, culture, and history that invites exploration. By the time you reach the port town of Brindisi, you'll have experienced a sweeping cross-section of Europe, rich in diverse history, culture, and scenic beauty.
Where could your bike take you?
You may use your bike to dodge traffic jams and get daily exercise. But it can also take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Whether you are looking for the support of an e-bike or a rugged go-anywhere trekking bike, there is the right bike for you. With the correct setup, you will have everything you need to explore new horizons and discover the joy of powering your own adventures.
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