About 90 cycling enthusiasts start for the new “European Peace Ride” on the route Chemnitz-Prague-Chemnitz

In 2025, when Chemnitz is the European Capital of Culture, the legendary International Peace Ride will also return. The European Peace Ride project, which was developed as part of the application for the title, will start this year with one or two stages for ambitious recreational cyclists. The two stages will take around 90 cycling enthusiasts, including ten Czech participants, over 413 kilometres and around 5500 metres of altitude from Chemnitz to Prague and back on 11 and 12 September 2021. In order to emphasise the cultural connection between art and sport, 15 towns and villages that are anchored in the “Purple Path” art project will be visited along the route.

The European Peace Ride, also known as the Course de la Paix, was the most acclaimed amateur cycling event behind the Iron Curtain. At its peak, 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 also through Chemnitz, or Karl-Marx-Stadt at the time, as a stage stop. Originally initiated by two journalists from Poland and the then Czechoslovakia, it also led through the former GDR every year in May from 1952. The aim was to set a peaceful example against the tensions of the Cold War by means of sport that would bring people together.

“We are extremely pleased that the first projects of the Capital of Culture are already becoming visible and creating shared experiences,” explains the Mayor of Chemnitz, Sven Schulze. The journey to Prague will therefore first pass through Flöha, Augustusburg and Zschopau. On Sunday, 12 September, it will return to Chemnitz via Annaberg-Buchholz, Zwönitz and Stollberg.

Kai Winkler, one of the initiators and himself an enthusiastic cyclist, explains the idea for the European Peace Ride: “When we took the BidBook to Berlin last year with 39 cyclists and Chemnitz was subsequently awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2025, we were all on fire. Winkler continues: “After that it was clear that we would get back on the saddle. Now there are about twice as many people cycling with us and we are really looking forward to the trip to Prague.”

In the capital of the Czech Republic, the cyclists will be publicly welcomed by the mayor of Prague, Zdenek Hrib, together with the mayor of Chemnitz, Sven Schulze.

The European Peace Ride is a joint action of different initiatives and would be unthinkable without the commitment of individual actors. In particular, the cycling initiative Fit4Bike, the Chemnitzer Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (CWE), the Chemnitzer Stadtsportbund e.V., the Chemnitzer Polizeisportverein e.V., the Terezin Cycling Club, the Czech Cycling Federation and SKODA as a sponsoring partner should be highlighted at this point.

LIVE-Tracking at Saturday & Sunday:

PDF of the route

12. September from 5 pm : the last meters together

Numerous cycling enthusiasts are carrying the Capital of Culture idea across borders to Prague – with the new edition of the legendary “Peace Ride”. And you can be a part of it: Together we want to welcome the riders on Sunday, 12 September. Get your bike out of the cellar and come to the tram museum (garage campus) on Zwickauer Straße at around 5 pm. Together we will cover the last few metres to the city centre at a relaxed pace.🚴

SAVE THE DATE:

When? Sunday, 12.09.21 from 5 pm

Where? Meeting point is the Tram Museum (garage campus).

Who? All Capital of Culture fans and those who want to become fans.

from 6 pm: Reception of the drivers and concert “am Kopp”

We will reach our destination, the Karl Marx Monument, at around 6 pm. Here, Lord Mayor Sven Schulze and Sebastian Hecht, Head of the Department of Culture and Tourism at the Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism (SMWKT) will welcome the cyclists.

The grand finale of the day: from 7 p.m. the band JEREMIAS will play a concert “am Kopp”.

Torsten Prenzlow is also taking part: “I used to be an enthusiastic Peace Ride supporter. After the fall of the Wall, I lost sight of cycling for a while, but in the last 10 years I have rediscovered this recreational sport. And of course I was thrilled when I heard about the “European Peace Ride” project. It’s great that in the context of the Capital of Culture the Peace Ride is being revived – in a similar way – and is now also being held at amateur level to Prague. It’s a challenge, but hopefully also fun. At the same time, I’m happy to use such an event to promote Chemnitz. And that is also my motivation: culture and sport run together, because they belong together. I am happy and proud to be a part of it.”

Photos: Ernesto Uhlmann