The International Peace Tour, also known as the Course de la Paix, was the most highly regarded amateur cycling event behind the Iron Curtain. At its high points, it was even compared to the famous Tour de France. The route of the Peace Tour usually led through the three capitals of Warsaw, Prague and East Berlin, and often through Chemnitz, or Karl-Marx-Stadt at the time, as a stage stop.

We already laid the foundation for a “PEACE RIDE RELOADED” during the application phase for the European Capital of Culture 2025. In September 2020, 39 people from Chemnitz drove our Bid Book II across Germany in 48 hours and handed it over to the jury in Berlin.

Finally, on 11 and 12 September 2021, two stages took around 90 cycling enthusiasts over 413 kilometres and 5586 metres of altitude from Chemnitz to Prague and back.

In the meantime, the European Peace Ride has become an important project of the European Capital of Culture 2025 and is firmly anchored in our Capital of Culture programme.

But unlike the former Peace Ride, the EPR is not a regular cycle race. So it’s not about winning or setting new speed records, but rather about reaching the finish line together, making equality and inclusion visible and experiencing European neighbourliness.

This year, we wanted to go one step further: not only did we increase the number of participants to 120, but the ride also started in Poland. We started on 2 September in Wrocław (Breslau), the European Capital of Culture 2016 as well as a multiple stage location of the “International Peace Tour”. From there, the tour led over the Giant Mountains to Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic and ended on the second day over the ridge of the Ore Mountains in Chemnitz, where a very special finish was planned.

This year, 120 athletes from Poland, the Czech Republic, Saxony and Ukraine took part. Among them were prominent supporters such as eleven-time Tour de France participant Marcus Burghardt from Zschopau and Henri Lesewitz, editor-in-chief of the cycling magazine “Bike”. Markus Tritt, a para-athlete on a tandem, also took part.

SPORTS UNITED celebrated its premiere on 4 September 2022 in conjunction with the “European Peace Ride”. The event was intended to connect all people with a love of sport. The focus was by no means on competitive sports, but rather on the valuable sense of community, which on the one hand invites people to exchange with others and on the other hand is able to overcome social divides. And so 10 different sports such as running, hiking, skating and the European Peace Ride had one and the same destination on 4 September: Brückenstraße in Chemnitz!

Preparations for the European Peace Ride 2022:

Photos: Ernesto Uhlmann