Sunday, March 30, 2014

A nice explanation to share explaining the different types of electricity powered bikes.

As we work in the field of popularization of cycling we often have to explain the differences between pedlec and e-bike  (and what does it mean). For  our new Bike to Work project - it is essential to know the difference as the pedelec will be a solution for many cases of convincing employers and overcomming obstacles.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Initiative about organization of a cycling event on both sides of the Bulgarian Turkish border at Rezovo (Black Sea coast)



Initiative about organization of  a cycling event on the both sides of the Bulgarian Turkish border at Rezovo (Black Sea coast).

Period: Spring or Summer of 2014. Format: One or two days event with cycling and open air discusion forum; Fun, Cycling,  Sea, Wind and slooow food.

We expect any suggestion about people to be invited from the organizations below or elsewhere. We  rely on our  friend’s personal contacts in these organizations to choose politicians who would love to cycle and will support the cycling idea from their heart.

So, please, check your contacts, Facebook  friends , Tweet followers  and give a feedback. We will soon have a Facebook page dedicated to the event.

The idea is in relation to the following  activities that we have as a partner in the project Iron Curtain Trail, co-financed by SEE (

 3.5 Preparation of the development and pilot action.

We have planned a feasibility study to improve the combined (public transport and cycling) services.
5.4 Promotion events
The event will promote elaborated sustainable tourism and transport offers.
6.2 Training study tour, awareness rising for national regional and local authorities.
The objective of these actions is to improve the knowledge of the stakeholders and technical staff which should implement the action plans (WP3) including the long-term management, but it also means motivation for the decision makers in order to allocate the significant resources (to inform and convince them about the effects and necessary actions).

The above is the official description of the activities. To put it simply -  we plan to invite politicians and decision makers to cycle on both sides of the river and possibly cross it generating a powerful political message that this future border  check point is necessary for the  sustainable tourism and  economy of the whole region. Its existence is crucial for the further development of the ICT (eurovelo13), Danube cycling trail (EuroVelo6) , Black Sea Cycling Trail (EuroVelo 16) as a whole regional EuroVelo network. Once existent the border check point will allow a significant increase of the cycling tourism along the coast and all trails leading to the Black Sea. Also this will increase the use of cycling from local population.  The  impact of the society will be huge - cycling as a  daily  urban transport, sustainable tourism, ecology, better health of the population and less obesity.

We plan to invite people, politicians and decision makers from the following organizations:

Municipalities along the Bulgarian Turkish border,

Regional Authority of Burgas and Kirklareli,

Trakya  Development Agency – Kirklarely,

Black Sea Economical Cooperation, International Black Sea Club

Bulgarian and Turkish Ministries – Transport, Tourism,  Regional Development, Foreign Affairs

Assembly of European Regions, The European Parliament, Committee on Transport and Tourism (Mr Kramer – founder of ICT)

Wide representation of the NGO sector in Bulgaria, Turkey and Europe.
The narrow border  river between Bulgaria and Turkey


Example of a very cheap solution - border check
point with boats to be used as ferries.


Example of a an expensive cycling bridge - about 5 mil. Euro

Example of a reasonable cheap small bridges. May be arround 500 000 Euro

Well, we are not engineers and invite the professionals to give advice, expertise or just an opinion.

Thanks inadvance!

Facebook page dedicated on the event will be created soon.

Friday, January 3, 2014

4 Types of Cyclists

News from our partners from ADFC - the German cycling federation:
At the end of the year they published interesting result from the research of the 4 types of cyclists:

 (Translation in Bulgarian)
• Силни и безсташни - <1%
• Уверени – 7%
• Заинтересувани но притеснени – 60 %
• “Няма начин” – 33%

Our target is to work for those 7% that would cycle if there is proper infrastructure and implemented cycling policies. In other words - cycling lanes, contra flow streets and changed behaviour of the people on the streets.
Those figures are relevant for most of Europe and is used for statistical calculations for the economical impact of cycling.
Short example of the economical impact for the area north of Burgas (relevant for the area north of Varna as well)
- tourists - 4 mil.
- potential cycling tourista - 280 000 (7%)
- impact over the local economy arround the area of the cycling route -  280 000 daily cycling trips X 15 Euro per day = 4,2 mil. Euro.
So if 7% will caycle jut one day the mone needed for the construction of the cycling lane will be paid pack in one season.
(translation in Bulgarian)
       Брой туристи : 4 млн
       Потенциални велотуристи : 280 000 (7%).
       Въздействие върху местния туризъм в близост до маршрута от 280 000 дневни велопътувания - по 15 евро на ден = 4,2 млн евро.

Further reading:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Писмо до Българските Власти във връзка с Национална Велосипедна Стратегия

До: Президент на РБ
Народно Събрание -Комисия по Транспорт
МРРБ (Ваш номер 92-00-140/02.04.2012)
Министерство на Икономиката и Енегретиката , Дирекция Туризъм ,
МТ (Ваш номер 15-00-60/28.03.2012),
 Министерство на Здравеопазването,
Пътна Полиция
Българска Стопанска камара

В рамките на дейността ни по проект Iron Curtain Trail», Реф. Номер  SEE/D/0081/3.1/X,  съфинансиран по оперативна програма за Транснационално Сътрудничество «Югоизточна Европа» 2007-2013, изпълняваме задачи по следните работни пакети:
- 6.2. Обучение, опознавателни пътувания, повишаване на осведомеността на Национални, Регионални и Местни власти.
- 6.5. Интегриране на велосипедизма към местни и регионални политики и генериране на нови проекти.
Във връзка с горните дейности, както и по други наши проекти (EuroVelo, Presto др.),  бихме желали да привлечем широк кръг от специалисти и заинтересовани лица с цел създаване на инициативна група, която да започне дълготрайна дискусия по следните теми:
   - Създаване на Работна група за изготвяне на Национална Велосипедна Стратегия или Национален Вело План. Следвайки добрите практики от Европейските страни, в които съществуват подобни стратегии или Планове, тази работна група би могла да бъде  оглавявана от някое от следните ведомства:  Министерството на Транспорта  Министерството на Регионалното Развитие;  Президент на Р. България, Съответната Комисия  в Народно Събрание. 
- Създаване на Работна група за изготвяне на Национална Велосипедна Концепция 2014-2020
Концепцията следва добрата практика от Унгария и касае конкретни мерки, свързани с велосипедизма за периода 2014-2020. Тя би могла да бъде част от Велосипедната Стратегия или Плана.
- Разглеждане на възможностите за прилагане на Национални Политики за Популяризиране на Велосипедизма, изготвена от Европейската Конференция на Министрите на Транспорта на национално ниво, както и други европеиски стратегии и политики, касаещи Велосипедизма, Устойчивия транспорт и туризъм, Плановете за Устойчиво Градско развитие.
- Осъществяване на дейности по инициативата “ INSPIRED”- (Inclusion of Cycling Policies in the Plans for Regional Development, Включване на Велосипедни Политки в Плановете за Регионално Развитие)  от тесни специалисти от МРРБ и областните администрации.
- Разглеждане на велосипедните инициативи и политики като синергии с културния туризъм. Към момента  маршрут Iron Curtain Trail се подготвя за сертификация за културен маршрут в Европейския Институт за Културни Маршрути. Това е повод за привличане на съответните институции („Министерство на Културата” и Дирекция Туризъм към МИЕ) за разглеждане на всички други потенциални възможности за Българсо участие в съществуващите или бъдещи културни маршрути.

- Разглеждане на Европейските политики, свързани с велосипедизма и оценка на прилагането им в България (в стартегии, закони, практики):
Бяла книга по Транспорт,  ЕК  2011
План за Действие за Градска Мобилност DG MOVE 2011
План за Действие за Градска Мобилност (SEC 2009 1211) Действия 1, 2, 3, 7
Европа Световна номер 1 туристическа дестицация (COM 2010 352 окончателен)
Устойчиво бъдеще за транспорта: интегрирана, основана на технологии и лесна за ползване система, DG TRAN, COM(2009) 279 окончателен
Велоипедирането – пътят напред за градовете. Европейска Комисия (2000), ГД Околна Среда,
Бъдещето на Транспорта – Аналитичен Доклад 2011, Европейска Комисия, ЕВРОБАРОМЕТЪР
Изследвания на Европейската Велосипедна Федерация:
1. Определяне на количествата спестени CO2 емисии от Велосипедирането. ECF
2. Бъдещите градове са велосипедните градове, ECF
3. Бъдещето на Транспорта – преоткриване на колелото или преоткриване на политиката, ECF
4. Европейска Вело Мрежа EUROVELO, ECF
- Разглеждане на добри и лоши вело-практики от предходни и действащи проекти и определяне на насоките за решаването на съществуващите проблеми, правни несъответстия, законови ограничения и др.

- Инициатива „ Планиране и Изграждане на Черноморски велосипеден път” като част от международен маршрут на  мрежата Euro Velo. Черноморския Велосипеден път следва да се разглежда като приоритетен туристически проект във връзка с устойчивостта на туризма.  През 2009г. Европейският Парламент поиска от Европейската Комисия и Страните Членки да считат мрежата  Euro Velo  и Iron Curtain Trail като възможност за популяризиране на Европейската трансгранична велосипедна инфраструктурна мрежа и да подкрепят гъвкавата мобилност и устойчивия туризъм. 
Накратко, идеята е да разгледаме въпроса глобално и с наличните средства и политики да интегрираме колелото като средство за ежедневно градско придвижване и за устойчив туризъм. Огромното положително въздействие на колелото върху здравето, екологията и финансите  е фактора, който ни задължава да положим необходимите усилия.
Сравнения с Холандия и Дания няма да бъдат правени, но опита и добрите практики на държави от централна Европа и Балканите, които през последните години въведоха успешно множество велополитики, трябва да бъдат споделени и приложени.

На 21.01.2014 в София ще се проведе поредната работна среща на партньорите по проект “Iron Curtain Trail”, което е добра възможност за  организиране на среща със специалисти и заинтересовани за дискусия по горните теми.
В началото на Декември ше организираме среща за определяне на началните насоки за осъществяване на горните идеи, като мястото и времето ще определим в следсвтие на обсъждане с поканените. 
По покана на «ЕкоОбщност» през Април 2013 беше  проведена координационна среща в Плевен на повечето велосипедни организации в страната, което създаде условие за кординация и обмен на информация и към момента обединяваме усилията си  за постигането на горните цели.

Моля да ни информирате за принципното си становище по горните въпроси и за възможността да излъчите Ваш представител за срещата.

С Уважение

Евгений Апостолов
Сдружение «Национална Велосипедна Асоциация»

Initiatives, Events, Projects - from 2013 to 2014

We will try to review and list the activities following the main Initiatives, Events and Projects that happened in 2013 and prepare their planning for 2014.


1. Bulgarian Cycling Strategy.
 1.1. Preparation of a work group. List of participants.  Possible budgeting for participants.
 1.2. Defining a Ministry to lead and initiated the process. Possibilities: Transport Ministry, Ministry of Regional Development.
 1.3. Definition if it is going to be a strategy or a national plan
 1.4. Listing of all laws and regulation that has be altered or changed in favor of cycling policies. Close cooperation with VeloBG
 1.5. Screening of all Bulgarian National Strategies and Plans in the perspective of cycling policies
 1.6. Inclusion of Cycling Policies in the Plans for regional Development (INSPIRED). This platform has the ambition to become a regional tool for popularization of cycling by explicitly mentioning 'cycling policies' in all relevant strategies.

2. Black Sea Cycling Trail (BSCT)
  2.1.Official signing of the letter of support from mayors along the BSCT
  2.2. Creation of a work group in cooperation with UBBSLA. Set up a plan with the National EurVelo Coordination Center.
  2.3. Starting the procedure for recognizing the BSCT as a key touristic national strategy.

3. Projects
3.1. Iron Curtain Trail -  started 10/2012, ending 9/2014 , co financed by SEE
    Planned events and study tours during spring and summer of 2014. We plan to use these events and invite     decision makers.
     3.1.1. Defining the key cultural points of interest along the ICT and prepare the certification of ICT to be certified as a cultural route.
     3.1.2. Initiate lobbying for opening of a border check point at Resovo between Bulgaria and Turkey.

2. Bike to Work
     The project is at 'adjustment' stage. Planned starting  March 2014. March 2017
      The project is about popularization of cycling and will help employers and employees to find their way in going to work by bike.


    Key supporter of the project in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Industrial Association. We plan to work with wide range of Employers Organisations through them.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Black Sea Cycling Route and Keraban Le Tetu, Keraban the Inflexible, Вироглавия Керабан

Keraban the Inflexible is a real person - Turkish merchant from Istanbul. Jules Vernes wrote a book, inspired by history: He refused to pay a tax imposed for crossing the Bosporus and in order not to break the low made a trip around the Black Sea Coast to get to the other side of the Bosporus.

We linked this story to our efforts to plan and  make a cycling route on the Black Sea Coast. Unlike Keraban  we plan the route to be used from many people for a long time. So it must be well planned and we have to keep in mind being realistic so in the first stage it will be just along the West Coast from Ukraine to Istanbul. But like Keraban we have to overpass regulations or administrative burdans that make our way difficult in many countries. A very short list of them is: the border crossing Check Point between Bulgaria and Turkey, still not existent, the limitations to put sign posting for cycling trails, etc. And most probably like Keraban we will be forced to bypass laws and regulations and hopefully it will be shorter than touring the Black Sea.

The approximate route of Keraban was this. A short comment: Why did not he pass along the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian Black Sea Coast?                

Because there was no road, even not a path. And if it seems strange or not true -  have a look at the Turkish map of today.   Still no road! In Bulgaria our road was constructed just 50 years ago. Till then all transportation was by sea, therefore no need for roads.

Now look again at the map and you will see that in the areas where there is a road, there are towns and resorts and tourism and industry.  In Turkey (no road) the landscape   is the same as it was 2000 years ago-there are only five villages at 250 km. shore. Now follow this logic and imagine that there is a cycling trail along the west coast. There will be cyclists all along the route, they will visit all those isolated villages on the Turkish coast and will take a considerable number of tourist (about 7%) from the crowded resorts in Bulgaria and Romania, from the car to the bike. Which is the modal shift-from motorized to non-motorized transport. From the conventional to the sustainable tourism From the normal to the healthy form of transport.            

This is the proposed route! And it is not so expensive to construct. Most of the rivers are narrow and the bridges needed are small - like those below:

And if one day those small inexpensive bridges will join the existing sections of the route and will form the whole BSCT route - the new EuroVelo route. And some cycling lanes of course, built from the local authorities! Push and help  them to do it.

Then you will easily see those places. Put on random order on purpose - they are all beautiful and all worth seeing and bike!:

Igneada lake Turkey

Kamchia, Bulgaria
Perhaps with a cycling bridge over it!
Katranka,  Ukraine

 Mamaia, Romania
Constanta, Romania
Ropotamo River, Bulgaria
Perhaps with a cycling bridge
 Sozopol, Bulgaria
Veleka River, Bulgaria
Kiyikoy, Turkey

History links

During the discussions and the presentations of ICT and EuroVelo at the municipalities of Varna and Burgas and found that the media and the participants liked very much the following historical links and parallels we did with our present activities:

1. Piri Rais map and charted.

This map together with a charter (detailed information about the shores - water sources, cities, etc.) was presented to Sultan Selim in 1520. This strategic document had tremendous impact of the following events as it caused the decision of the sultan to start building a fleet. Till then the Ottomans had no fleet and the Venetians and the Genovese transported them when needed. With the new fleet the Ottomans conquered the Black sea shores and the eastern Mediterranean. For the following 400 years the Black Sea area assured  the major source for the Empire's treasury.  The impact of the Piri Rais map and charter is huge for the history as without it is doubtful if the fleet would have been created and if the empire would have been expanded.

We made a direct link of the letter of support for EuroVelo and the Black Sea Cyclimg Trail development with the Piri Rais map. We believe the BSCT could be  huge importance for the tourism and economy of the whole west coast of the Black Sea.

Another link is the Donauradweg (the Danube Cycling Trail) . 40 years ago, before it was constructed no one could have imagined the economical impact and the cycling touristic flow it has now.

The initial survey of the coast lines in the region shows that the west Black Sea coast is mostly flat and not so much populated in comparison to Greece, Turkey and Italy. This makes it suitable for the development of cycling tourism together with the suitable climate - not so hot climate.