The Challenge

How can a communication campaign be exciting, inclusive and useful to urban planning?

Just take the most efficient urban means of transport, the people competitiveness and local pride, a widespread technology and mix them together!

The European Cycling Challenge – ECC is an urban cyclists' team competition taking place every May, 1-31.

Born from an idea of the city of Bologna as a small pilot with around 70 people, the ECC is now one of the biggest European cycling events: during the 2016 edition, 52 cities from 17 Countries joined the Challenge, and 46.000 people cycled 4.000.000 km in a month.

The gamification approach turns trips into fun activities, encouraging people to use bicycle as much as possible: participants tracks their bike-trips with a free tracking App contributing to their Team mileage, and through online leaderboards they can check their City Team position in real-time.

Furthemore, the ECC makes cyclists valuable producers of data themselves. All collected GPS data have a priceless value for city planners. Ready-to-use bike-trips heatmaps, which give a first glance of the cyclists’ behaviour, deeper analysis on origins/destinations, loose of time at intersection, possible congestion on cycle lanes, etc., the knowledge of where and when cyclists ride in the city gives city planners detailed feedback about cyclists' real needs.


Being part of the ECC makes cyclists active actors in the planning process: they know that thanks to information they provide through their trips, they can influence the cycling network, because it may be planned on their real needs.

Some examples:

  • Bologna located 1.000 new bicycle racks in the city centre analysing the origins/destinations of bike-trips tracked during the 2015 edition
  • Napoli confirmed the creation of a new bike-lane in one of the most central road because data collected in 2015 highlighted it was one of the most cycled road
  • Umea verified the effectiveness of a new bike-lane built between 2013 and 2015 by comparing the route choice in two set of data collected in the two editions
  • Gdynia used data to check speed and intensity of cyclists in specific cycle paths, and is creating its first model of cycling network, as a part of FLOW project.

 Thanks to this crowdsourced data and to cheap and widespread technology like a smartphone App, cities can now rely on valuable information, which was impossible even to be imagined few years ago.