interview with Frans van Schoot, European Cyclists’ Federation Vice President.
How did start the Danube Bike Project? Who has had the idea?
The Idea for this trip was probably developed by DG enlargement in Brussels in the middle of 2008 I guess. Than they asked Media Consulta in Berlin to work it out. In that time ECF (European Cyclists’ Federation) was involved as subcontractor. ECF’s main task was to coordinate the cycling matters.
Did the Danube Tour reached your expectations?
The main goal was to let meet people from all EU countries and Candidate EU countries and let them integrate and talk to each other as if there where no borders and cycling is one of the best opportunity’s to meet people and let them contact with each other. I personally have the feeling that this was very successful.
What do you think about the participants?
All participants where involved and they had lot/s of fun with each other most of them where aware of the goal of this tour. Of course when you travel or cycle with such a broad aged group and also with several levels of experience, you see different levels of cycling in a certain way like speed and quality. But this doesn’t matter for the target of this tour. The first day we as guiding team learned how to work together but the following days we know each other role’s so we had a good team with guides from Germany, Serbia Romania and the Netherlands. It was also nice to see that participants did some extra’s, like helping loading and unloading the trucks for the bikes.
Which was the biggest satisfaction for you about this trip? What about the disappointments?
For me it was great to see that not trained people could ride 120 km on one day and that day ended in great swimming party. Passing the villages see applauding the people who are living in different regions from Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania also gives me a greet feeling. At the end of the Tour it was nice for me to see so many people going back home satisfied and happy. The disappointments: that there is a mindset that escorting the cyclists by the police will give a save feeling. Of course we needed on certain places of the route with intensive traffic that police escort, but I had the feeling that this was not necessary for the whole trip. Also, the time and days were to short because there is so much to see in your countries and we should have more free time to meet the local people.
There will be a Danube by bike Tour 2010?
The future On the bike fest in Belgrade I got positive feedback from the EU and partners and they mentioned about 2010 but how and in what format we should think. First we evaluate this tour and will have to look forward……