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ADFC’s Bicycle Travel Analysis identifies growth in short trips

Monday, March 30, 2020
The ADFC again presented its traditional Bicycle Travel Analysis this year. It is already the 21st time! The ADFC’s figures are among the best available data on bicycle travels and the popularity of individual routes in general. EuroVelo routes again featured prominently among the top routes this year.
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Growth of cycle tourism © ADFC

Overall, it is noticeable that cycling trips have become shorter, more spontaneous and more varied. Around 5.4 million people in Germany made at least one cycle tour with at least three overnight stays last year, according to the analysis. Although this is a slight decrease of 1.8% compared to 2018, the number of short trips has increased significantly. Short cycling trips involve a maximum of two overnight stays. The number of these short trips rose by 27% to 5.2 million on weekdays and by 11% to 6.8 million at the weekends. Day trips by bike also offer great potential for destinations. 34.3 million people made at least one day trip for leisure or holiday purposes, an increase of 5.5%.

In each of the categories of the most popular or most frequented routes covered by the ADFC, there are several cycle tourism products that overlap with parts of EuroVelo routes. Here is an overview with examples of how EuroVelo routes performed in the analysis:

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Most popular cycle routes 2019 in Germany © ADFC
  • In the list of the ten most popular cycle routes in Germany in 2019, the “Ostseeküsten-Radweg“ (EuroVelo 10 - Baltic Sea Cycle Route) moved up five places to fourth place. The “MainRadweg” (Main Cycle Route), which covers parts of EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route, came in sixth, while the “Donauradweg” (Danube Cycle Path, EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea) ranks eighth. The most popular cycle routes in 2019 are those that the respondents travelled on in the past three years and gave the best grades. On the podium are the “Weser-Radweg” (Weser Cycle Route), “Elbe-Radweg” (Elbe Cycle Route) and “Ruhrtal-Radweg” (Ruhr Valley Cycle Route). It should be remembered that there are 250 long-distance cycle routes in Germany.
  • The ADFC survey also records the "Routes cycled in Germany in 2019". These are the routes on which the respondents actually travelled last year. For instance, EuroVelo 15 - Rhine Cycle Route ranks third in this category.
  • Moreover, four EuroVelo routes are among the top 10 planned travel destinations in Germany in 2020, including the Rhine Cycle Route (seventh place).
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Cyclists in the old town

The analysis contains a wealth of further information, such as:

  • 29% of travellers already use electric bikes, compared with 23% in the previous year.
  • The share of rental bikes is 7% (5% in 2018).
  • One in two respondents use the bicycle for short trips or cycle tours.
  • 40% of the cycle tourists also use the bike more often in their everyday life after the holiday.
  • Signposting remains the most important means of orientation during the cycling trip, with 72% saying that they rely on signposting during their trip.
  • 70% of those respondents that see a need for improvement in public transport consider Deutsche Bahn's capacity to carry bicycles insufficient.
  • 72% intend to go on a cycling trip in Germany in 2020, while 40% are considering cycling holidays in Europe.
  • When Germans cycle abroad, they prefer to go to the Netherlands, Austria or Italy.

The ADFC usually presents this "national survey on the bicycle travel market" at the ITB Berlin, the world’s greatest tourism trade fair, which was cancelled due to the Corona pandemic. Therefore, Frank Hofmann, Deputy Chairman of the ADFC, and Louise Böhler, Head of Tourism, presented the most important results this time in an online conference. The analysis was developed together with the market research institute T.I.P. BIEHL & PARTNER GbR, Markt- und Tourismusforschung. It is based on a total of three online surveys with responses from more than 8,000 German cyclists.

The results of the analysis can be viewed here: https://www.adfc.de/artikel/adfc-radreiseanalyse-2020/, where you will also find an English summary.

Cover picture: © ADFC/Gloger