Rural tourism development is a hot topic in Armenia, but one area still overlooked is the potential of bicycle touring as a way of exploring the country. This project aims to remedy this in a very concrete way: by developing five (5) self-guided cycling itineraries, publishing a digital guidebook, and promoting it to a large international audience of bicycle travel enthusiasts.
Those visiting Armenia by bicycle currently suffer from a lack of information about alternative routes to the main highways, which are dangerous and unpleasant to ride. The truth is that Armenia features a plethora of alternative routes on smaller and less-travelled roads. The roads, to the bicycle traveller, are a surefire way to have a much more interesting and pleasant experience – but remain in many cases unmapped and unknown to a newcomer to the country.
This project will aim to remedy that with a multifaceted approach:
- Updating the open-source mapping of bicycle-friendly routes to include settlements, shops, water sources, accommodation, and other points of interest,
- Developing itineraries which take into account the preferences and daily distance ranges of bicycle travellers,
- Incorporating data and information of particular interest to cyclists, including elevation profiles, road conditions and traffic conditions,
- Photographing and creating written descriptions of the routes.
The routes will range from long-distance itineraries for those hoping to explore the whole country, through shorter day-trips from key Armenian cities to points of cultural and historical interest, through to off-road itineraries for adventurous cyclists looking for a wilder and more natural experience.
A PDF ebook will be created for these itineraries, along with a new website, http://cyclingarmenia.com/, which I hope to grow to be a central hub for information about bicycle travel in Armenia.
Promotion will primarily be through the popular bicycle travel website TomsBikeTrip.com.
Funded by Yerevan (September 2016)