This year – for the first time in the Velo-city history – the biggest cycling conference in the World was held in the Southern hemisphere – in Adelaide, Australia. And true to tradition, the Cycling Embassy of Denmark was present to share Danish bicycle knowhow and hand over its Leadership Award for Cycling Promotion.
May 27-30, 600 planners, architects, consultants, scholars, decision makers, NGOs, and bicycle enthusiasts met Down Under to inspire each other and share their knowledge about how we can promote cycling as a means of transportation.
Different Danish perspectives on cycling
The Cycling Embassy of Denmark was represented by a delegation of 13 members, half of whom gave presentations.
Niels Hoé gave a key note about how the bicycle is an engine for financially and socially sustainable cities; Lars Moustgaard from The Danish Road Directory talked about the Danish experiences with cycling subsidy schemes; Jens Loft Rasmussen from the Danish Cyclists’ Federation talked about the importance of and how to get children cycling by engaging schools, and I shared Danish examples of how we use gamification in cycling campaigns. Both the Director of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, Klaus Bondam, and the Mayor of Copenhagen, Morten Kabell, gave presentations about cycling in Denmark and in Copenhagen and participated in plenum debates.
All the presentations are be available on the Velo-city website and on the CED website.
Leadership Award for Cycling Promotion
Every year at Velo-city, the Cycling Embassy chooses an individual or an organisation that we want to acknowledge and honour for their work to promote cycling. This year, the award went to the CEO of Giant Global Group in Taiwan, Antony Lo. At the last minute, Tony Lo unfortunately had to cancel his trip to Adelaide, but a representative of Giant, Vicky Yang, accepted the award on behalf of Tony Lo.
Giant is one of the world’s largest bicycle brands. Tony Lo has proved to be a visionary and highly dedicated leader and a great representative for the bicycle industry. He has led the way by encouraging his employees as well as the entire Taiwanese-based industry to take ownership of not only the bicycle itself, but the entire cycle culture as a whole. We believe Tony Lo’s dedication to cycling is highly exemplary and sets a great example for everybody working in the production and the promotion of cycling.
Previous award winners include such prominent advocates as Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg (U.S.), Roelof Wittink (NL), Lake Sagaris (CL), Randy Neufeld (U.S.) and Vice Mayor of Munich, Hep Monatzeder.
The Australian cycling experience from a Danish perspective
There is a long way from Denmark in the North to Adelaide in Australia, and when it comes to cycling, we are very different. Like many Australian cities, Adelaide is still facing a lot of challenges when it comes to cycling – there is the mandatory helmet law, the cycling infrastructure is still sporadic, and cyclists are for the most part wearing Lycra – which is all very different from cycling in Denmark. But what really struck me was the rhetoric in the media! How cyclists should be glad that car drivers did not run them over, how cyclists are a menace in traffic, how men whistle at women cycling in regular clothes! That made me really happy to live in a country where it is both possible, and totally normal, to ride with my son to school in heels and a skirt.
But it was a pleasure to meet so many fantastic Australian cycling advocates who are working very hard to make the bicycle an integrated part of urban mobility. Keep up the good work!
Thank you ECF and City of Adelaide for a great conference with great speakers from all over the world. The Cycling Embassy of Denmark is looking forward to attending the conference in Nantes, France, next year.