In 1993, Denmark established the world’s first official signed national cycle route network. Since the establishment of the approx. 3,500 km of routes, however, there has not been so much focus on it. A new report on the condition of the routes proposes changes to route structure and signage.
By Jens Erik Larsen, JE@Friefugle.dk
Changing routes and new routes
As the regional planning level, the counties, were abolished, the Danish Road Directorate and municipalities entered an agreement that the municipalities are responsible for planning and maintaining the national routes. The possible changes that municipalities had to make must be reported to the Danish Road Directorate, which updates a digital map of the current location of the routes (www.trafikken.dk). Detailed rules are set out in guidelines “Vejvisning på cykel-, ride- og vandreruter.”
National cycle routes under the microscope
A review of the national cycle routes has now been conducted by Foreningen Frie Fugle. You will find the report ‘National cycle routes – change of route process’ on www.friefugle.dk. The first part of the project involves all 11 national cycle routes with specific proposals for improvements to the route course to the individual municipalities they pass. The project includes a more detailed analysis of itineraries around Copenhagen and the Baltic Sea Cycle Route.
Bicycle Tourists not to miss Copenhagen
The four national cycle routes N2, N4, N6, and N9 lead up to Copenhagen, but it is not certain that cyclists will reach the Town Hall Square if they try to follow the signs. Particularly bad is N6 coming from Esbjerg (England route) as signing through Vestamager and Amager Fælled is inadequate and confusing. As a consequence, Copenhagen had decided to move N6 to go along Kalvebod and Islands Brygge and upgrade the signage.
There is also a great desire to get N9 (Elsinore – Gedser) to pass the Town Hall Square. It is currently passing around Copenhagen via Vestvolden. But cyclists who follow a national – and in this case also international – route will of course like to pass through the city centre of the capital.
Along the “Danish Riviera” in North Zealand
On the other hand, Copenhagen’s management suggests that N2 (Hanstholm – Copenhagen) no longer run through the capital. They propose to convert the N2 to follow the north coast of Sealand -today a regional route. From there, you can follow the N9 to Copenhagen. It fits very well with Visit North Sealand’s promotional events where the North Coast to be sold as ‘Danish Riviera.’ So maybe a future “Donauradweg” along the North Sealand ‘gold coast’ is in the offing.
Baltic Sea Cycle Route
The third focus of the project was to convert the Baltic Sea Cycle Route into national cycle route 8, a tour of approx. 800 km, which would be a good bike tourism product offering cycling holidays for 1-2 weeks in some of the most suitable landscape around the “South Sea Islands” (www.bikeandsea-denmark.com). Today, the route is signed with many different numbers and with inadequate signage. The national cycle route 8, Sydhavsruten, goes straight west – east from Rudbøl across Funen and ends abruptly at the cliffs of Møn. Changing it to the report’s proposed itinerary including bicycle island Ærø reconciles traffic and tourism planning with an ideal bike tourism product as a result.
The project report describes in detail what individual municipalities need to do to reach this goal, which can help to strengthen the bike tourism in Denmark and catch up with those who have overtaken us since our invention of the national cycle route network.