Combine bicycle-related events with already existing events! This is the recommendation of the Municipality of Odense, which has named itself the ‘city of cyclists’.
Organizing big events requires a lot of resources; therefore, it is a good idea to join forces. Often bicycle-related event alone cannot attract very many people. But with greater diversity comes more participants: If someone is showing something they have learned, it also attracts relatives, increasing visibility and attention.
In Denmark, the bicycle is often used as a means of transport to and from work. The distances are short, and during rush hour it is often just as fast to go by bicycle as by car. Therefore, ”everybody” cycles to and from work—regardless of income level or social status—but for leisure activities it is generally the car that is in use.
Odense, which is the third largest city in Denmark, wants to be the ”City of Cyclists” and has therefore initiated a series of activities to make Odense the city where it is easy, safe, and comfortable to cycle. Many activities focus on “passability”, on separating the road users, and on getting cars out of the city centre, but a series of events will contribute to getting people to use the bicycle in their free time as well.
Cycle events connected to existing events greatly facilitate the planning and execution of both. Here are some examples of successful activities:
- ”Play day” during the schools’ autumn vacation: In a park in the city centre an obstacle course was established which was to be traversed on bicycle. The children could play ”music” on pot lids and oil drums while riding their bicycle, and try the custom of the southern part of Jutland, “riding at the ring”, where one thrusts a spear though a small ring while riding at full gallop on decorated horses—in this case, however, the horse was exchanged by one of iron and wheels. The children learned to manoeuvre and balance on the bicycle through the game, and thereby they become better and more secure cyclists.
- Fiord Day: Every year in September, nature organizations in Odense organize ”Fiord Day” where one can go on guided tours to beautiful spots around the lovely Odense Fiord. Normally one goes by car to the starting point and walks from there, but now they also arrange equivalent tours for cyclists.
Culture festival with cycling activities: In connection with Odense’s culture festival next year there will be various activities that will focus on bicycles and cyclists. For example, there will be bicycle art in the urban space, a reclining cycle drive-in, an adventure park for bicycles, innovation with bicycles, and cycling courses for the elderly.