EVM 2012

Latest News: Currently in Belgium :-)

Belgium – 14 – 17 July 2012

Belgium means lots of rain, sometimes sunny rain and most often rainy sky. Soaking wet we arrived in Diest at our Campervan parking spot to find a newly refurbished swimming pool and natural park with brand new facilities including camper van parking facilities and beautiful very environmentally friendly looking children’s playground. We managed to get a 10 min swim before the pool shut but it was very enjoyable in 21C crystal clear empty pool with a lovely shower after that. Thank you to the staff at Halve Maan (which means half moon) Nature Park and outdoor swimming pool (http://tinyurl.com/bmv7f47).

So far during the 4000km cycling campaign through 11 Countries for 55 Days

The European Velomarathon was organised to inspire more people to cycle, to promote road safety, better conditions for cycling and walking and mobility beyond disability.

And to make one man’s dream come true. We want the story of Mladen Belchev to inspire people to make their dreams come true, but also to warn people that suffering and death because of a road crash are unnecessary and by all means preventable and everyone can do something about it.

There are less thantwo weeks left to successfully fulfil the goals of the European Velomarathon. To find out what happened during the first 40 days – watch videos documenting the European Velomarathon so far; the documentary and a PR campaign are produced by CenTransit.com, whose CEO John Hazlewood is participating in the EVM.

Dear Whoever is reading this – W still need your help:

Help us spread the word – we need to connect with journalists in Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands and especially in the United Kingdom.

We invite, you – journalists to join us in making happen the change we want to see in the world – more cycling people, better road safety, improved conditions for walking and cycling. This is good not only for cyclists but for everyone.

More people to join us – We invite people to join us for an hour or to the end in London. We invite people to have a Summer of Cycling by sharing the joy – inviting a friend to share the fun.

 We need politicians to listen and agree – you journalists can help encourage their political will.

If you wonder what else you could do – See what The Times did in the last few months for cyclists in the United Kingdom: Cities fit for cycling – http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/.

Bulgaria – 2 – 5 June 2012

We started in Sofia, the Capital on the 2nd June and had three wonderful days, where everywhere the local people welcomed and cheered our enthusiasm. We had friends and family join us for part or most of the route in Bulgaria. We had a great media coverage on  6 TV channels thanks to CenTransit.com’s team who put a lot of effort to promote the velomarathon.

Cycling in Bulgaria and Serbia: http://youtu.be/AXatHLZj7I8

Serbia – 6 – 11 June 2012

We supported the Cycle Belgrade event and project funded by the United Nations  to inspire more people to cycle in Belgrade and to involve the local government to improve the conditions for sustainable transport, cycling and walking.  We were helped by our Serbian brothers in arms from Yugo Cycling Campaign, the Serbian Cycling Federation and keen cycling enthusiast. We would like to particularly thank Milan Boric, without whose help we wouldn’t have had such a great time in Serbia.

The route along the Iron Gate is one of the most picturesque and tough for cycling because of the steeper hills, but definitely a good exercise.

Cycle Serbia by the Iron Gate – the German way: http://youtu.be/XNoxAvR2EZY

The Road(Peace) to Belgrade: http://youtu.be/1yufPJvvdW0

Cycle Belgrade: http://youtu.be/v99VTk3yLLk

Hungary 13 – 17 June 2012

Was welcoming and beautiful, and a proper communication challenge – we are thankful for the development of GPS technology. We met with Bulgarians and locals – mostly cyclists in Budapest, we cycled in Budapest at night and met more than 50 Hungarian cyclists who do that every month.

We thank the Bulgarian Embassy in Budapest and embassador Biserka Benisheva for the hospitality.

Hungarian part of the Danube bank is a favourite tourist destination for many – particularly for cycling, the conditions are perfect. To find out more about cycling in Hungary – visit the Critical Mass website for Hungary: http://criticalmass.hu/english

Night cycling in Budapest: http://youtu.be/4IB1HSNU7Ps

Day cycling in Hungary: http://youtu.be/qCqRuSBSfQ4

Slovakia 18 – 20 June 2012

Our campervan broke down 50km before Bratislava, that didn’t stop the group of having a great time and meeting the Bulgarian Community in the Bulgarian Cultural Centre. Special thanks to the director of the Centre for their hospitality and for the warm welcome.

Well done Bratislava for having a great network of pathways where people are having fun walking, roller blading and cycling. We were impressed and should take their example. Improving existing paths in Parks and between parks should be a priority for local governments.

Thanks to Marcello Agarev who was our saviour – thanks to whom and his friends our camper had a quick and unexpensive fix. We hope that more people will and can do what he did – help a stranger in need. He is a Slovakian entrepreneur who loves Bulgaria, had lived there and speaks the language and cares for the people :-) Thank you Marcello.

Cycling in Bratislava: http://youtu.be/4IlPJ5yrlEE

Austria 21 – 23 June 2012

We enjoyed the cycling paths and roads of Austria.

In Wien cycled with the secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy, had a picnic in the beautiful park by the famous Wien Opera House. The only let down was that there wasnt enough time to visit the many museums and exhibitions, but we visited the Local Bike Kitchen and we managed to try the local cycling scheme and we will compare it with the London Barclays Bike Scheme.

Bike Kitchen Wien:  http://youtu.be/flQRqKD9vjA

Cycling in Wien: http://youtu.be/flQRqKD9vjA

Meeting a Street Trial Biker – Dominc Raab: http://youtu.be/JQq02i3yU9M

Germany – 24 June – 11 July 2012

It seems that the further we move to the west the number of cyclists increases significantly and the conditions improve proportionally.

Our route followed the magnificent Danube through Bavaria, visiting the most beautiful Bavarian towns:  Passau, Regensbourg, Inglostadt, Neuburg, Donauwörth.

Also there is a lot to be said about organised tourism in Germany – walking, the wine route for wine connoisseurs; travelling by bus, driving, cycling, or by train – it’s all there. The train network is affordable and bicycle friendly, Tourist information Centres in every town offer free tourist maps and ready available information about accommodation, internet, shopping etc. – anything a tourist and visitor might need to know.

We also made friends in Ulm with a local businessman – Wolfgang Harmuth, who generously provided all paid for Bed and Breakfast for all of us in the local Youth Hostel.

We visited the source of the Danube in Donaueschingen – a peaceful and beautiful place where the biggest river in Europe begins.

Visited Freiburg – one of the most cycle-friendly cities in Germany and hired a bike from IKEA so that we could take our velopet Shaka with us to do some site seeing.

For the European Velomarathon the highlight for Germany was the Congress for Cities for Mobility in Stuttgart the 2012 title was “Safe Streets as a Sustainable Cities Strategy”.

The congress took place on July 1 to 4, 2012, at the City Hall of Stuttgart. The event tackled the issues of traffic safety from a broad perspective focussing on the interplay of different fields, such as urban planning and public spaces, education and mobility behaviour, sanctions, infrastructure and technology. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to network with like-minded people, decision and policy makers and campaigners for sustainable transport.

The annual World Congress of “Cities for Mobility” serves as a forum for the exchange of experiences and knowledge between municipal transport experts, scientists and entrepreneurs. It also is a forum to find project partners and to present innovative solutions and initiatives.

France – 5 July 2012

Because of logistical problems and losing the talisman of the group – little Miss Shaka we had to give up our ambitions to meet the mayor of Strasbourg, who is also a keen cyclists, but we enjoyed the cycling paths along the Danube on the French side and we hope we might get a chance to meet french cyclists just before we go across the La Manche.

Netherlands – 12-13 July 2012

We are very grateful to our host Peter Bahchevanov, who is doing a Master in European Studies (that he just completed and now is looking for a job :-) He was very kind to show us around Maastricht and the Cycling Paradise that is the area of Limburg, the Vaals Hill. The way to Belgium wasn’t long but is always nicer to be showed the way.

What’s Next?

12 days left, 3 more countries but still a lot of opportunities to promote the causes of the marathon. So we have a few favours to ask from you dear journalists.

Participation and Donations

Please register your interest to participate by contacting us:

email: hello@velomarthon.eu

To arrange a meeting point please contact us via mobile: 0044 78521 44418; Voluntary Donnations will be requested Min £10 Max …

Please donate EUR10 or more by donating through our website: http://www.velomarathon.eu/sponsorship/

Thank you and we look forward to cycling with you.

The Itinerary





Maastricht -Hasselt- Diest




Diest - Leuven - Brussels




Brussels – Picnic the streets plus couch surfing event!




Brussels – Ninove- Oudenaarde- Roubaix




Roubaix-Armentieres – Hazebrouck- Saint Omer




Saint Omer - CALAIS – La Manche – Dover




Dover – Canterbury




Canterbury – Faversham -Detling




Detling- TBA












London – Press conference




London- Party at the embassy of Bulgaria




London – Belgium House for the Opening of Belgian Cycling Paradise




London – Final of the Road Cycling competition – Box Hill, Surrey 28/07/2012 Saturday


More information:

“Cities for Mobility“ is a membership network for local government institutions, non-profit organizations, educational and research institutions, businesses and corporations to serve as a platform to engage in mutual cooperation for developing, implementing and disseminating innovative solutions for sustainable urban mobility.

To find out more about the Cities for Mobility Network and about the programme of the congress the European Velomarathon just attended, visit their website: http://www.cities-for-mobility.net

Bike kitchen

Bicycle Kitchen or Bike Kitchen is a term that refers to a number of independent non-profit and often cooperative organizations that educate cyclists on bicycle mechanics and ridership, and encourage local cycling.

Starting as an American West-coast urban phenomenon, bicycle kitchens have spread as far as Bozeman, Montana, Nashville, Tennessee, and even Hobart, Tasmania. The city of Los Angeles has three bicycle kitchen organizations, the original Bicycle Kitchen in Koreatown, the Bike Oven in Cypress Park, and the Bikerowave in Mar Vista. Other prominent bicycle kitchens are in San Francisco and Sacramento.

Meanwhile the concept of non-profil bicycle self help workshops has spread to many continents, see for example the Bikecollective’s Community Bicycle Organizations list.
One of the earliest self help bicycle workshops was the Fahrrad.Selbsthilfe.Werkstatt founded in 1983 in the WUK, a formerly squatted factory in Vienna, Austria.

Bicycle kitchens typically provide low- or no-cost instruction in bicycle mechanics and offer educational workshops to fill community needs and to promote cycling in the greater public. (from WIKIpedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_Kitchen


Olympic Games 2012

The Olympic Games 2012 will take place from 27 July to 12 August 2012. To find out about the schedule and news visit the official website: www.london2012.com

Ha! London 2012 makes it easy to walk or cycle to the Games:


The Beginning

The European Velo Marathon 2012 – the alternative Olympic Torch Relay for Road Peace is a 55-day ride from Bulgaria to London to promote cycling, sustainable travel and road safety.

Watch a video about it:

The international relay will be led by my father, the veteran Bulgarian cyclist Mladen Belchev. I was inspired to organise the event after he almost died in a road accident last year. Despite his injuries,  Mladen is completing the 2,500 mile journey to the Olympic stadium in London using the HASE kettwiesel recumbent trike.

More than just cycling

Mladen will be accompanied by 20 other European cyclists on the ride. Our team will travel through 11 countries, following the EuroVelo cycle network.

Our challenge is to complete the distance. But the ride is not just about the journey.

  • We are co-organising and hosting events in 11 European countries to inspire cycling and promote safer roads
  • We are meeting with the mayors and local authorities of European villages, towns and seven capital cities, inviting them to do what is in their power to improve conditions for one of the most sustainable forms of transport – the bicycle
  • We are making a film documentary of the marathon and collecting stories of victory, success and wisdom
  • We are providing a media opportunity for local organisations to push their campaigns for safer cycling, better road safety and a healthier world
  • We are nurturing discussion about what inspires people to cycle, how to take greater care when driving, how to overcome challenges and fear, how to get up after a fall and continue, living on

We need your help and support to make this happen, now!

We are looking for collaborators all around Europe. We invite organisations and individuals to join EVM 2012 or organise their own EVMs using the rest of the EuroVelo routes and meet us in Freiburg, Germany.

We are also looking for cyclists who have been affected by road traffic accidents to join the relay and help carry the alternative Olympic torch to the 2012 stadium in London.

We will be updating our site with information about sponsorship opportunities and funding. If you want to help, please get in touch or donate directly to our cause.

Olympics 2012

We depart from Sofia, Bulgaria on 2 June 2012 and will cross the finish line in London on 25 July 2012 –two days before the opening of the Olympics. By cycling over 3500km we want to celebrate the most sustainable Olympic Games ever.

We will be regularly updating this site as we build-up to EVM 2012!

Thank you for your time and support.

Ekaterina (Kate) Belcheva