Exchange with ‘Cycle City’

Münster has been voted ‘Germany’s most cycle-friendly city’ on more than one occasion and, with a 450 kilometre network of cycle paths plus an average of two bikes per citizen, it is not difficult to see why. Münster also happens to be York’s Twin City and, for the summer of 2022, York Twinning Association are planning a cycle exchange. This will be an opportunity to learn how the German regional capital does cycling – by getting on our bikes and going there. 

The Association would like to work with York Cycle Campaign to make the exchange a success.

The plan is fairly straightforward. In early July, a group of us will cycle part or all of the way to Münster via  Hull / Rotterdam and on arrival will be hosted by our counterparts in the Twin City. The following year, we will return the favour, when cyclists from Münster will visit York. 

This will be something of an adventure, but we want to make it an accessible one – so three options are offered. The ‘long cyclists’ will pedal the whole way, which we estimate will take three days from Rotterdam. Note though that the route through Holland and Germany is fairly flat and much of it on Eurovelo paths. The ‘short cyclists’ will travel by train to Enschede, another of Münster’s partner cities, and cycle the final leg in a single day. There will also be a third option for those who want to travel the whole way by public transport but take part in exchange activities once in the city. 

One activity we hope to make a central part of the visit is fact-finding. We want to experience how Münster supports active travel and then share those lessons with the people of York. Given its independent status, York Cycle Campaign is well-placed to facilitate such an exercise, and in spring I hope we can discuss with our various counterparts how we can make this work.

The other practical way YCC members could support this venture is by offering their cycle skills. To make the ‘long cyclists’ option manageable, we will be capping numbers on that route at ten. Even so, this will require some co-ordination and we need two or three ride leaders to share responsibility for looking after the group. If you think you fit the bill, we are interested to hear from you. 

July is six months away but we will be firming up our plans early in 2022.  International travel is, of course, not as predictable as it used to be but, as we move forward from COP26, strengthening our relationship with Germany’s Climate Protection Capital is surely something worth striving towards.

If you think the cycle trip to Münster might interest you, contact me, Chris Copland, rep. for the Twinning Association at coplandattalktalk@gmail.com or Nathan Horner, YCC Campaigns Officer, at YorkCycle.Campaigns@gmail.com

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