The historical development of cycle tourism

The his­tory of cycle tou­rism began at the start of the 20th cen­tury with the emer­ging youth move­ment which popu­la­ri­sed cycle tou­ring. Added to this was the popu­la­rity of cycle racing and the growth of recrea­ti­o­nal cycling in the labour move­ment of the time ("fel­low­ship among cyclists", "nature-lovers"). In the 1950s and 60s it was above all young peo­ple who went on cycle tours, stay­ing at youth hos­tels or camp­si­tes along the way. From the 1970s onwards cycle tou­ring began to change. Now it was incre­a­sin­gly middle-aged and older peo­ple who went on cycle tours las­ting several days with the aim of immer­sing them­sel­ves in the natu­ral world and its lands­ca­pes and get­ting heal­thy exer­cise at the same time. Since then cycle tou­rism has taken off in Ger­many.  

Cycle tou­rism today

Nowa­days cycle tou­ring is beco­ming more and more popu­lar. Cycle tou­rism is a boom sec­tor of the Ger­man tou­rist indus­try which is enjoy­ing con­ti­nuous growth. And Baden-Würt­tem­berg in par­ti­cu­lar with its beau­ti­ful, varied lands­ca­pes, its fas­ci­na­ting towns and cities as well as its cul­tu­ral and culi­nary attrac­ti­ons has lots to offer – both for those who want to enjoy cycle tours at a lei­su­rely pace and those who are see­king a more ath­le­ti­cally chal­len­ging form of cycle tou­ring. 

Baden-Würt­tem­berg's cycle tou­rism net­work con­sists of a total of 19 long-distance cycle trails as well as nume­rous regi­o­nal tou­rist cycle rou­tes. Seven of the long-distance cycle trails have already been reco­g­ni­sed as ADFC-appro­ved cycle rou­tes. They include the clas­sic "Lieb­li­ches Tau­ber­tal" (Char­ming Tau­ber Val­ley) route – one of only two cycle rou­tes in the whole of Ger­many to be awar­ded five stars.  

A wide range of tours and ser­vices are offe­red by tour ope­ra­tors which have spe­cia­li­sed in cycle tours. Simi­la­rly, many hotels, guest hou­ses and other accom­mo­da­tion pro­vi­ders have adap­ted to the spe­cial needs of cyclists. 

Today in Baden-Würt­tem­berg alone 14 mil­lion peo­ple go for a day's outing on their bike each year, and cycle tou­rists pay for 3.2 mil­lion over­night stays. They gene­rate a net eco­no­mic value of roughly 860 mil­lion euros per year. 

Spe­cial hos­pi­ta­lity and cate­ring indus­try ser­vices

Ger­many's hotel and restau­rant indus­try is incre­a­sin­gly cate­ring for the needs of cycle tou­rists. There are spe­cial cyclists' menus and Bed+Bike hotels/guest­hou­ses which don't just pro­vide the stan­dard par­king faci­li­ties, they also pro­vide tools, easy-to-use pumps, bat­tery char­ging points, a dedi­ca­ted cycle sto­rage room, and dry­ing rooms for wet clo­thing. Many busi­nes­ses also pro­vide hire bikes for guests who are tra­vel­ling without their own bike. ADFC cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the qua­lity of cycle tou­ring faci­li­ties star­ted many years ago.  

Pro­mo­tion of cycle tou­rism and lei­sure cycling

The state of Baden-Würt­tem­berg is imple­men­ting various mea­su­res to pro­mote cycle tou­rism. As well as sup­por­ting and expan­ding the infra­s­truc­ture, it is also hel­ping the regi­o­nal orga­ni­sa­ti­ons to mar­ket the long-distance cycle trails and to clas­sify cycle rou­tes. The state admi­nis­tra­tion has also set up the inter­ac­tive Rad­ROU­TEN­PLA­NER cycle route plan­ning web­site, which does of course include the 19 long-distance cycle trails cove­r­ing a total distance of roughly 4,500 kilo­me­tres.  



Federal Minis­try for Eco­no­mic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) (publ.) (2009): Grund­la­gen­un­ter­su­chung Fahr­rad­tou­ris­mus in Deut­sch­land – Lang­fas­sung (Basic inves­ti­ga­tion into cycle tou­rism in Ger­many – una­bridged edi­tion). Ber­lin


VSF Ser­vice Gesell­schaft mit beschränk­ter Haf­tung (GmbH) (2015): Sum­mary report "Daten zur Fahr­rad­wirt­schaft in Baden-Würt­tem­berg" (Data rela­ting to the Cycling Eco­nomy in Baden-Würt­tem­berg) – as part of the state admi­nis­tra­tion's RadS­TRA­TE­GIE cycling stra­t­egy. Aurich


All­ge­mei­ner Deut­scher Fahr­rad-Club e. V. (ADFC) (2016): ADFC-Radrei­se­ana­lyse (ADFC Ana­ly­sis of Cycle Jour­neys) 2016. Pre­sen­ta­tion – una­bridged ver­sion Ber­lin