Holidays on two wheels are back in fashion

Being active and seeing a lot of the country and its people: these are important reasons why an increasing number of travelers choose to spend their holidays on a bicycle. In 2021, around four million people took a bike ride. That’s half a million more than in the first Corona 2020 year, but not as many as in the years before the pandemic. This is demonstrated by the result of the annual cycle tourism analysis of the ADFC cycling clubs, which is out now. Another result: the better the infrastructure, the more people ride bicycles.

Christian Tänzler, director of tourism at ADFC; Image: ADFC / Deckable

Christian Tänzler, ADFC Director of Tourism He says: “We are very pleased that cycle tourism has returned to growth after the difficult travel year of 2020. The current analysis of cycle tourism shows very clearly: cycling is popular, especially where the quality of cycle paths is right. Infrastructure plays a role. central role in the decision to take a bike ride, but also for a day trip. Here it becomes clear that investments in cycle paths are worthwhile and attract tourists. But good cycle paths not only increase the attractiveness of a region as a destination for travel, but also offer local citizens climate-friendly infrastructure for everyday life. more in everyday life “.

35 percent more cyclists

More and more people cycle in their free time. 42 million citizens made at least one day trip by bicycle in 2021. This is eleven million more than the previous year. In addition, 24% of the cycling population bought a new bicycle last year, with nearly half of the new purchases being electric bicycles.

For 70% of the respondents, a high quality of the path is essential

According to the analysis of cycle tourism, when planning day trips, the focus is on the quality of the infrastructure: 70 percent of respondents said that good navigability of the routes is essential for them in choosing a route 66 percent also appreciate good road safety. In comparison, the sights along the route (57%) and the refreshment points (40%) are also important, but not as decisive as the quality of the route. Infrastructure also plays a central role in planning multi-day bike tours: nearly 70 percent pay close attention to the road safety of a route and appreciate the separate cycle paths and little car traffic. Furthermore, the structural state of the routes plays an important role for 66 per cent of cyclists. Unlike day trips, tourist attractiveness is also of great importance for bike tours: 71% of respondents said they pay attention to sights along the way when planning their trip. 61% would also like bicycle-friendly accommodation on their route.

Most popular travel destination of the Weser cycle path

The analysis of cycle tourism collects, in addition to the planning aspects, also the objectives of the cyclists. Divided by region, Emsland / Osnabrücker Land / Bentheim County attract cyclists in particular, followed by the Baltic Sea coast of Mecklenburg and the Lake Constance region. The most popular long-distance cycle paths are the Weser cycle path, the Elbe cycle path and the main cycle path. For the first time, satisfaction with the routes was also sought in the analysis of cycle tourism. The result for the ten most traveled long-distance cycle paths is consistently positive: on a scale from one (excellent) to six (unsatisfactory), the Main Cycle Path and the Cinque Fiumi Cycle Path obtain the best performance, each with a score of 1 , 5. With a rating of 1.9, the Baltic coast cycle path is considered the worst of the top ten, but it is still good.

Image: ADFC / April Agency

Experiencing the country and its people is the main reason for a bike tour

Another novelty in the ongoing analysis is the question of the reasons for a bicycle tour. According to this, more than 80% of respondents appreciate the opportunity to learn a lot about the country and its people on bike tours. 67 percent would like to be active on vacation and then cycle. But the desire for an environmentally friendly way of traveling (52 per cent) and the opportunity to promote one’s health (48 per cent) are also cited as important reasons. Overall, the experience of a bicycle trip is very positive for a clear majority: 68 per cent of respondents said they plan another two-wheel trip in the next year.

Natural treasure chambers of the ADFC RadReiseRegion; Image: TWA Stefan Kuhn

Almost half of the cyclists use an e-bike

A notable increase is that 42% of respondents use an electric bicycle for their cycling holidays. This is ten percentage points higher than the previous year. This result allows us to conclude that e-bikes make holidays on two wheels more attractive: they allow many people to be active on vacation without overloading themselves. Over 72% of e-bike users say they now also ride longer distances, 53% say they now use their bikes even in the most demanding hilly regions.

Context of cycling travel analysis

The ADFC cycle tourism analysis has been carried out annually since 1999 and is a nationwide survey of the cycle tourism market in Germany. This year, nearly 10,300 Germans took part in the survey, supported by the leading online bicycle retailer, Fahrrad.de. A bicycle trip is defined as a trip that has the bicycle as one of the main reasons and includes at least three overnight stays.

You can find all the results in the web dossier on the Cycle Travel Analysis 2022.

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