slowUp and take in the sights in Switzerland

This month saw the start of this year’s slowUp festival in Switzerland, which ever since 2000 has seen parts of the road network closed off to motorised traffic for one day to encourage sustainable mobility. Over the coming months, a further 18 locations will organise related events, which provide a perfect excuse to visit Switzerland by bike!

The first slowUp event of the season took place on Sunday 6th April in Ticino, between Locarno and Bellinzona, along Lake Maggiore. Under the spring sun, 25,000 people gathered in this beautiful Alpine region of Switzerland for a ride on the road which was closed to traffic from 10 am to 5 pm.  The idea of the slowUp festival is simple and effective: first, select a road of approximately 30 km located in an attractive region and close it off to motorised traffic for several hours. Then, provide activities along the route and let people come and use the route for free. This idea has been extremely popular with more than 4 million people having already participated to at least one of the 149 slowUp days that have been organised to date.



The aim of the festival is to allow as many people as possible to enjoy the pleasure of combining sustainable mobility and tourism in an attractive and fun environment.  In order to allow as many people as possible to participate – by bike, roller skate, or simply by foot – the selected sections are relatively short and are as flat as possible. Together with local partners, the three organisers of the festival, Health Promotion Switzerland, SwitzerlandMobility Foundation (which is Swiss National EuroVelo Coordination Centre) and Switzerland Tourism stress the particular importance of accessibility. slowUp events are accessible for all, the route as well as the activities are accessible for people with disabilities and most of the events provide adapted bicycles.  The motto of the festival is therefore very apt: “Slow Down, Pleasure Up”.


The slowUp festival is also a good opportunity to visit Switzerland and to get an introduction to cycling the EuroVelo routes that pass through the country.  Several of the 19 events of this year take you on or close to EuroVelo routes. If you missed the first event in Bellinzona where EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea-Francigena passes, you still have the opportunity to visit some other places along this route, such as Basel and the neighbouring regions of France and Germany on the 21st September or along the lakes north to Lucerne the 24th August. 

Alternatively, you could take in one of the events along the Rhine River which both EuroVelo 15 –Rhine Route and EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic–Black Sea follow. Put in your calendar: 4th May between Werdenberg and Liechtenstein, 18th May between Schaffhausen and Hegau, 15th June around Hochrhein, 31st August along the Bodensee routes or 21st September in Basel. There are even slowUp events occurring outside of Switzerland this year, including one on 1st June in Alsace, France, which is also on the Route of EuroVelo 5 and 15.


Photos: www.slowUp.ch