London-Paris cycle route planned

By Rosee Woodland, commuting correspondent | Thursday, November 8, 2007 12.00am

The details of the Velopark for London's 2012 Olympics are still being slowly hammered out, but there's some positive Games news for cyclists.

A cycle route linking London with Paris is underway, and the majority should be built in time for the 2012 Games.

The Avenue Verte, connected by the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry, will be the first designated bike path between the two cities.

It will be complemented by the Tour de la Manche - a circular cycling route through south east England and northern France bridged by ferry crossings to Calais at Dover and Folkstone.

Not all the funding has yet been found for the scheme, but the London to Paris bike route has already been mapped out.

The Avenue Verte would start at the famed St Paul's Cathedral in London and snake through Surrey and West and East Sussex.

After crossing from Newhaven, cyclists would pass through the northern French department of Seine Maritime heading south to Paris along the route of the former Dieppe-Paris railway.

The Tour de la Manche snakes through East Sussex and Kent, and after the crossing to Calais, heads west to rejoin the Avenue Verte on to the French capital.

Both routes would include cycle parking and rest stops.

Some of the UK paths follow existing routes on the National Cycle Network, including Route 2, but will not be entirely traffic-free.

However, on the French side of the route, expected to end at Notre Dame cathedral, it's hoped almost the whole journey will avoid roads.

Money for the project is expected to come from European Union grants and National Lottery funding in the UK.

An agreement between authorities in the UK and France on the basic plan has already been signed but further details are yet to be mapped out.

West Sussex county councillor Derek Whittington, told Sussex newspaper The Argus: "The aim is to make the route as traffic free as possible given the obvious constraints of the major capital cities that are involved.

"It is also hoped to complete much of the work in time for the 2012 Olympic games, but while the goodwill is in place, much will depend on external funding."

You can find out more about the scheme at the Franco-British Cycle Plan website.

© BikeRadar 2007

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