Sunday, January 05, 2014

Comparing ADFC Route Quality Ratings

The ADFC, the German cycling club has started a rating system for cycle routes. These are mainly in Germany but a few are in Austria. We wrote about these last year. Since then more routes have been added. We will write about these shortly.
We were glad to see that the Tauber Valley Classic Route along the floor of the valley received a five star rating, but surprised to see that the Romantic Road Cycle Route only received three stars. The Romantic Road joins the Tauber Valley Classic Route for 70 of its 420km. We looked at the results in detail:
We have cycled both routes often. What struck us was that the Romantic Road got much lower values in four areas:
  • Ease of riding. It is true that the Tauber Valley Route has just about no barriers with only one flight of steps and thus deserves the 5 stars. There are some barriers on the Romantic Road. It is the longer route by far.  We don't think it deserves such a low marking.
  • Surface: The Romantic Road has some stretches that are not tarred, whereas the Tauber Valley route has far fewer, but the former is much longer.
  • Sign posting. We don't think the Romantic Road sign posting is poor. We have never had problems following the route. Sign posting can be improved easily, but it is the responsibility of local authorities, rather than the Romantische Strasse Touristik Arbeitsgemeinschaft GbR, the tourism body responsible for marketing and coordinating activities along the whole route.
  • The route design. This has a low weighting and it is not easy to assess.
We suspect that there will be improvements in the above areas which will improve the ratings of the Romantic Road Cycle Route.

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