Red Corner: The Iron Curtain Bike Trail

It was Winston Churchill who first coined the term Iron Curtain to refer to the heavily fortified border region between Western Europe and the communist Warsaw Pact nations. For years, the very term conjured up images of barbed wire, snarling guard dogs, and Kalashnikov toting Slavic thugs. If the EU has its way, such visions will be replaced by ultra-fit cyclists in little black pants and brightly colored helmets.

The EU is considering a proposal to create the world’s longest heritage trail along the former Iron Curtain. The 4,250-mile bicycle and walking route would begin at the Arctic Ocean where Russia and Norway share a border and then continue south, crossing through the Baltics, Poland, the former East Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and then skirt along the southern border of Bulgaria all the way to the Black Sea.

Whoa, that’s a long way. It was easier to escape from the Soviet Union than it will be to conquer this trail.