The Ekopolis Foundation launched a pilot project of the “Cyclists Welcome” certification scheme in Slovakia in January 2008. It has been inspired by examples from Germany (Bett&Bike), Austria and Switzerland and it is based on the scheme entitled „Cyklisté vítáni,“ which has already certificated over 750 facilities in the Czech Republic.
Goal of the Project
The goal of certification is to increase the number of tourist facilities friendly to cyclists and to support cycle tourism in Slovakia.
An enterprise that is interested in the certificate contacts a regional evaluator. The evaluator visits the facility and inspects the fulfillment of specific criteria and provides advice on how to adjust the facility to effectively meet cyclists’ needs. For example, there should be safe bicycle storage, a satisfactory selection of refreshments, basic bicycle repair tools and a first aid kit. The certified facility is then added to an international internet database and it is labeled with the sign of a smiling bicycle. Detailed conditions and contacts can be found at www.cyclistswelcome.com
Benefits of the Certification
Certification opens new promotional possibilities for a facility. The internet database of certified places is popular in the Czech and Slovak Republic and it is also available to people from Germany, Austria, Holland, France, Great Britain, USA, Poland and other countries. The facility is allowed to use the “Cyclists Welcome” logo in its promotional materials. A sign placed by the main entrance attracts attention and invites all cyclists passing by. The enterprise gains access to expert counsel and is invited to collaborate with the Ekopolis Foundation in its efforts for improvement of conditions for bicyclists and cycle tourists in Slovakia.