This is where 50,000 people get on their bikes every day.

A long way off? Not for the Ruhr Metropolis and its RS1.

The RS1 cycle highway is the Metropolis Ruhr’s showcase infrastructural project. With a path more than 100 kilometres in length, it will link the cities between Duisburg and Hamm from 2020, making it the world’s longest cycle highway. No fewer than 1.7 million people live along its route; more than 400,000 jobs are in the immediate catchment area. More commuters are set to switch to the bike by the time it is completed in 2020 than in any other region of Germany. ‘Up to 50,000 a day,’ says Martin Tönnes, head of planning at the Regional Association Ruhr.

He should know – after all, he is managing the RS1 project. He briefly stops many times for us on the way to the office on his bike – firstly in the district of Altendorf. Nobody would guess that until recently a railway embankment used to run along here, amid this wonderfully green oasis …