Those who love cycling always love it, in the city and on holiday
Moreover, cycling has never been able to do anything about it, and it has been a means of ensuring, in a natural way, the social distance required. And with the bonus of the latest government decrees is soldout in stores for the purchase of new bikes. The range available in recent years has been greatly expanded: classic bikes or mountain bikes have been associated with bikes with assisted pedaling, folding bikes, cargo bikes to carry children as well as shopping and veilplus, bikes for people with disabilities that now exist even in tandem version and even for the transport of disabled wheelchairs. The bikes are also joined by scooters and electric scooters, owned or rented. Among the side effects of lockdown there is also a greater propensity to use these means, even to electric micromobility, which we now see more and more in our streets… and in the holidays. Those who love cycling always love it: for daily commutes, especially in commutes home-work, and for holidays, in fact, they spend quite long bike holidays (over 6 nights for 50% of the sample) and, in 43% of cases, has the habit of going abroad, especially in the countries bordering Italy, where the combination of bicycle and holiday is now consolidated. This is what emerges from the National Survey on Cycling carried out by the University of Insubria (and more precisely by a group of transport economists coordinated by Elena Maggi, delegate of the rector Angelo Tagliabue for sustainable development and mobility manager of the university), in collaboration with FIAB-Federation Italian Environment and Bicycle, and conducted for the first time with a sample of 940 Italian cyclists, people who choose to travel to Italy. With rapid and steady growth in recent years, cycling is able to combine economic development and the quality of the environment and life, according to a sustainable approach adhering to the principles of the UN Agenda 2030. Moreover, cycling has never been able to do anything about it, and it has been a means of ensuring, in a natural way, the social distance required.
The survey gave a voice to those who travel by bicycle by providing, first of all, an overview of the most important factors for the development of cycling: controlled traffic on roads shared with motor vehicles, adequate signage along the routes and the availability of detailed information on cycle paths, are very important aspects. Favorable conditions to facilitate the choice of a holiday on two wheels are also the safety and care of the routes, the ease of access to hotel facilities for cyclists and the availability of theft prevention services such as cycle-parking guarded.
Investigating then through the cycling holidays carried out by the champion in Italy and abroad from 2017 onwards, the research highlighted the relevance of different elements in the choice of destinations, routes and accommodation facilities. Here, cycling experiences are mainly experienced as a couple (28%) or with friends (23%), the daily stages are 70% between 50 and 70 km and the average duration of the holiday on two wheels is 5 nights (50% make trips with more than 6 nights), with preference for bed&breakfast accommodation in Italy (48%) hotels abroad (39.4%).
With regard to the satisfaction of hospitality services, where attention to the primary needs of travelers with bikes in tow are always present (shelter to store bikes, workshop equipped, laundry), it is noted that Italian facilities aim at the well-being of the person with dedicated services, such as nutritionally attentive catering, medical and physiotherapy assistance, facilities for relaxation (SPA, massages) and for sport (gymnasium) , swimming pool); while those abroad focus on cycling and route-related information services.
43% of the cycling experiences told by the respondents took place abroad: Austria, Germany and France are the European countries with the highest number of visits, both because of their proximity to Italy, and because of the presence of well-known and well-organised cycling routes, which they also offer cultural stops in the cities crossed. The preference for those who ride in the bel country (57%) is for the regions of the North-East (38%, driven by Veneto and Trentino South Tyrol), followed by the North-West (27%) Centre (20%), in particular Tuscany.
The travel experiences of Italian cyclists are on average satisfactory, although overall the holiday abroad is perceived more palatable for the best accessibility to a wide range of services dedicated to cycling and its use and for the positive impact that cycling generates on the territory. Those who have taken a bike holiday are inclined to repeat it, preferring to return to cycling abroad involving friends and acquaintances.
Extremely interesting is the data on the means of transport used in Italy to reach the place of the holiday: if 30% of the sample only moves the bicycle from home, as many as 32% use the train in combination with the bike. “The combination of train-bikes is once again a fundamental element for the growth of cycling in our country and confirms the virtuous and winning choices made by some territories, such as the North East, where investments in cycling infrastructure have been accompanied by intermodity initiatives and services for bicycle travelers”, comments Antonio Dalla Venezia , regional coordinator of FIAB Veneto and chairman of the scientific technical committee of Bicitalia, the national cycling network mapped by FIAB and connected to the European Eurovelo network.
The average daily spend of the cyclist is 65 euros, in line with what is also indicated in the ecF-European Cyclist’ Federation’s continental statistics and on the same level as other traveller profiles. On the contrary, in the face of quality services, the cyclist is willing to spend even more.