Vancouver, Canada, opened its arms and streets this June to host the world’s largest conference on cycling, Velo-city. Twenty bicycle ambassadors from Denmark crossed the Atlantic to meet other bicycle experts, politicians, and NGOs from across the globe to share their knowledge of how to promote cycling.
By Marianne Weinreich, VEKSØ
A First Nations welcome and a standing applause
The conference started with a First Nations welcome ceremony and an inspiring speech by Gil Penelosa, which earned him a standing applause from the 700 delegates. Altogether, the conference featured a long list of interesting presentations. The Cycling Embassy of Denmark contributed with thirteen presentations on bicycle tourism, cycle campaigns for children, traffic safety, bicycle parking, cargo bikes and trailers, cycle score, the Danish State Railway’s successful venture of making it free to bring your bike on the S-train, and challenges and solutions in Danish cities like Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Odense, and eleven other Nordic cycle cities. The presentations are available for download at www.cycling-embassy.dk.
Meet the Danes!
As usual, the conference also included a large exhibition where producers, consultants, and various cycle organisations were ready to present products and services, and share knowledge and materials with the delegates.
The Cycling Embassy of Denmark’s stand was busy from morning till night. We had the pleasure of talking to bicycle enthusiasts from all over the world, learn about their experiences, and present some of the Danish solutions we have to offer. Among other things, we handed out 300 copies of the “Collection of Bicycle Concepts 2012.” Getting to meet so many happy, interested, and inspiring people at the stand was worth the trip alone.
Thank you for cycling
Rather than just telling the delegates about how we reward our cyclists in Denmark, we decided to show them by handing out bags of fruit saying “thank you for cycling” just like we do in many Danish cities. The bags were very well received.
Leadership award for Randy Neufeld
The conference ended with a plenary session on June 29. Among others, Dr. Poul Tranter made an inspiring presentation about the importance of creating child-friendly environments in cities.
Randy Neufeld, Director of SRAM Cycling Fund, was awarded with the Cycling Embassy of Denmark’s Leadership Award for Cycling Promotion 2012 at the conference. Several prominent cycle advocates had been discussed as candidates, but in the end, all agreed on awarding Randy Neufeld. Chairman Troels Andersen gave the following reasons for honouring Randy Neufeld:
“This year, the award goes to a man who has a hands-on approach to cycling promotion, and who is always ready to support cycling promotion initiatives. Since the start of his career as a cycling advocate, he has inspired by his example and has gone from being an activist to being an extremely influential figure for decision makers shaping transportation policy. His continuous personal and professional devotion to promotion of cycling worldwide from Chicago to Eastern Europe has made him the natural choice for this year’s award.”