Press release: Turkish cyclists to embark on Journey of Hope across Europe

Feridun_Ekmekci_front right_cyclings answer to Forrest Gump

Feridun Ekmekci, front right, is cycling’s answer to Forrest Gump

Local residents and stakeholders invited to join “Forrest Gump”-style tour promoting physical activity, inclusion and a peaceful future

For immediate release

“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run… What I was doing seemed to make sense to people… So I got company, and after that I got even more company, and then even more people joined in. Somebody later told me it gave people hope.”Quote from the motion picture Forrest Gump (1994)

On Thursday 18 August at 4pm CET, a team of recreational cyclists from Turkey (led by Feridun Ekmekci, pictured front right) will start a 31-day, 2530 km from Copenhagen to Austria. But they don’t plan to travel alone. Like the motion picture Forrest Gump’s famous run, the team invites local residents, politicians and cycling organisations to join them on their #JourneyOfHope promoting active transport, physical activity, inclusion and a peaceful future for Europe.

The #JourneyOfHope is a cross-border cycling tour organised by the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and co-funded by the European Commission as an official European Week of Sport event for 2016. Last year, ISCA tested the tour concept NowWeBike as part of the NowWeMOVE campaign promoting recreational sport and physical activity, in which the team cycled from Turkey to the European Week of Sport village in Brussels over 47 days.

From 18 August, the team will cross the borders of 7 countries (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria), arriving in Kosice, on 10 September, for the official opening ceremony of the European Week of Sport and an official event under the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU. The journey will finish on the last day of the European Week of Sport on 17 September in Vienna.

Local stakeholders in cycling are organising side events along the route, including the departure event in Copenhagen on 18 August, the CYKLO cycling festival in Aarhus on 20-21 August, press conferences and meetings with local authorities in Wroclaw (30 August) and Budapest (14 September), and the On Wheels Against Cancer event in Bratislava (16 September).

The side event registration is still open, and individuals and organisations can advertise their event and access other promotional materials on the tour’s website http://nowwebike.nowwemove.com/

Anyone along the route can join the cross-border cycling tour at any stage, following the team for as long as they wish.

NowWeMOVE Campaign Manager for Europe Laska Nenova: “While the Journey of Hope and the European Week of Sport can’t provide all of the solutions to Europe’s challenges, they give organisations from a variety of sectors a great opportunity to show the way forward. The Journey of Hope also promotes the message that European Citizens are becoming more engaged in active transport every day, to the benefit of their health and the environment.”

ISCA General Secretary Jacob Schouenborg: “From the media’s point of view, the challenging political situation in Europe may point to the ‘doom and gloom’ conclusion that the world is coming to an end. But the Journey of Hope tour expresses the fundamental citizen-driven belief that we can overcome these barriers and actively promote important causes bigger than ourselves.”

The Journey of Hope is co-funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Sport programme and promotes the #BeActive message.

For live updates about the tour, follow the journey’s hashtag #JourneyOfHope on Twitter @ISCA_tweet and @NowWeMove and the NowWeMOVE blog http://blog.nowwemove.com/category/nowwebike/

Please visit the official website http://nowwebike.nowwemove.com/ if you would like more information about the tour and the team.

Journey of Hope partner logos

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