Germany has long been associated with transportation. Their automotive industry is regarded by many as the finest in the world, and the Autobahn system, on which their Audis and BMWs travel, is famous around the world. What might not be so widely known, though, is that biking is also a popular means of traveling in the country. About 10 percent of all commuting is done by bike, which is why this superhighway is being built.
Eventually, this dedicated bike highway will be 100 kilometers long, connecting as many as ten cities in Western Germany.
Running alongside disused railroad tracks, five kilometers have just been opened for public usage. The entire stretch will feature separated paths, smooth surfacing and pleasant and quick biking, unencumbered by cars and traffic.
The German government estimates that the full highway will offer a new commuting avenue for up to two million people; that equates to 50,000 less cars on the road each day.
The route will be both scenic and urban, and pass through Duisburg, Bochum, Hamm and four universities. The project is a joint undertaking between the European Union, the Regionalverband Ruhr, a regional development agency and the local government. Expected cost? Nearly $200 million.
This isn’t a new idea, though; Germany’s European neighbors Denmark and the Netherlands already have their own versions. The UK is set to build their own version, as well, connecting east and west London. Germany’s far outstrips these in length, however. Denmark’s trail clocks in at 22 kilometers, the Netherland’s at seven kilometers and London’s at a proposed 30 kilometers.