“Cross the border by bike” project - coordination is crucial

On April 6-7, 2017 Uzhgorod hosted the final conference of the “Cross the border by bike” project (CBC02/PSK-I/033), where partners from Slovakia and Ukraine presented the achievements and results of the project to the stakeholders on both sides of the border and discussed issues of common interest and opportunities for further cooperation between partners and regions in promoting long distance cycling routes and relevant transport infrastructure for cycling and tourism.
It was interesting to hear the presentation of Adriana ShebeshovaAdriana Sebesova, Head of tourism section of the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Kosice Self-governing Region - the main partner of the project, who highlighted the essence of the concept of a network of cycling routes in the Kosice region, as well as presentation of Vera Shtupakova, Coordinator EuroVelo 11 in Slovakia, who spoke about the components and efforts regarding proper installation of bicycle paths in line with European requirements.
The partners from Slovakia tried to ensure the design of bicycle routs coverage in the Kosice region, including development of schemes of long-distance cycling routs in the region and surrounding areas, defining segments of the cycling rout EoroVelo11 and Slovakian cycling routs in the Kosice and Presov regions, as well as the technical documentation for their resettlement.
At the same time Ukrainian partner of the project worked on the concept of long-distance cycling routes network in the Transcarpathian region and elaborated the recommendations to the Ukrainian authorities upon marking bicycle routes in line with EU standards. The final conference gave the floor for discussion of the concept of long-distance cycling routes network submitted by the working group. The presence of architects from Transcarpathia and neighbouring oblasts - Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk - has provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the proposed locations of network connection with neighbouring countries and regions of Ukraine.
Viktor Mikulin, deputy head of the Transcarpathian oblast state administration, emphasized the importance of establishment of the adequate infrastructure of cycling routes that will connect towns and villages. He suggested to design and build bike paths at the time of scheduled for 2017 and beyond schedule - capital repairs and construction of new highways, and the importance of coordination of the actions of all stakeholders in this regard. A basis for such work is the concept of network of long-distance bicycle routes in the Transcarpathian region, that has to be approved by the regional council.
Kyiv Cyclists Association and the NGO Uzhhorod Bicycle Culture reported their activities and outlined the topics of their work.
An important part of the project was to improve the capacity, exchange of experience and knowledge of experts and activists associated with cycling infrastructure, participation in seminars on cross-border planning and design of bicycle paths as well as practical work on marking bicycle paths at the segments of EuroVelo11 .
The Guide upon bicycle paths in Transcarpathia in Ukrainian language and in the Presov and Kosice regions in Slovak language will be very useful for cyclists who visit these areas.
The second day of the final conference continued by joint Slovak-Ukrainian bike ride Uzhhorod - Nevitsky castle, and it was supported by NGO Uzhhorod Bicycle Culture , and we are very grateful for this fact.
“Cross the border by bike” project is supported by the Norway grants and the Government of the Slovak Republic, is coming to an end, but the partners have agreed to cooperate in promoting the theme of long-distance bicycle routes. One of the potential projects and both sides recognized it as the important one is the marking of cycling routs on the checkpoint on the border between Ukraine and Slovakia Mali Selmentsy because the Slovakian partners already has marked the part leading to the border crossing point on the Slovak side.
We would like to thank to Eugene Andrikanych (NGO Uzhhorod Bicycle Culture ) for providing photos and videos, which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/uzhgorodbicycleculture/posts/2260249997534389 https://youtu.be/jfXcaIPpcBg And Gejza Legen (Kosice), for his photos which can be found here: https://goo.gl/photos/Yvc2mAchvCZhx8Vq7

Information about the project:
“Cross te border by bike” project is  implemented with the financial support of Norway and the Government of the Slovak Republic under the financial technical assistance Norwegian grants, under priority cross-border cooperation Slovakia.
Seven organizations from Ukraine and Slovakia are involved in the project.
Project partners: 
Kosice self-governing region - project promoter 
Partner 1: FORZA, Agency for Sustainable Development of the Carpathian Region
Partner 2: Association of municipalities Horna Torysa
Partner 3: City of Velky Saris
Partner 4: North-East of Slovakia
Partner 5 : Regional Association of Municipalities Hornad
Partner 6: Kyiv Cyclists’ Association
The objective of the project is to improve of cross-border cooperation in the planning and implementation of cycling routes in all three regions (Presov region, Kosice region and Transcarpathia). Well designed and well implemented cycling network will not only contribute to a better use of cross-border and international tourism potential, but also enable local people to use the bicycle as a means of transport belonging to everyday life.