Some 1500 cycling advocates descended on the city of Dublin (Ireland) last week for the Velo-City international cycling conference. Organised by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) since 1980, Velo-City is the world’s largest conference on the topic of cycling, linking its promotion with themes such as technology, health, behavioural change, urban and infrastructure policies, active mobility and transport.
The theme of the 2019 edition (June 24-28) was ‘Cycling for the Ages’, exploring visions and pathways to reach the ‘cycling city of the future’, as well as strategies to ensure that such measures are inclusive for all, regardless of age, gender, ability and nationality. Various announcements and presentations were made by the UCI Cycling for All team, who met with participating delegates from around the world.
On Monday 24 June, the Cycling: Danish Solutions platform was officially launched in collaboration with the Cycling Embassy of Denmark. The comprehensive online database - bringing Denmark’s knowledge, experience and best practices in cycling promotion into the public sphere - was also presented during the session highlighting the sport of cycling’s potential as a catalyst for everyday cycling transformation. The panel was led by Marianne Weinreich, Chairman of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, and enabled representatives from the UCI, and the cities of Utrecht, Copenhagen, Brussels, and Manchester to share examples of events and strategies strengthening the link between cycling events and advocacy. In addition, the session saw Chris Boardman (Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester in Great Britain) receive the Cycling Embassy of Denmark’s 2019 Leadership Award, for the outstanding work undertaken to change people’s mobility behaviour and make greater Manchester greener and more liveable.
Given a key focus on children’s cycling in the UCI’s Agenda 2022, a session entitled “Kids on Bikes – The Future of Cycling” saw best practices being shared by representatives from British Cycling, Cycling Ireland and the Bikeability Trust. Louise Gray (the Youth Sport Trust) presented the framework and success factors behind the HSBC UK Ready Set Ride programme, developed in collaboration with British Cycling; Paul Robison (the Bikeability Trust) shared the vision and building blocks of the Bikeability programme, whose three-level programme is widely delivered within the UK; and Barbara Connelly (Cycling Ireland) presented key initiatives, such as Sprocket Rocket and the Cycle Right national standard, delivered by the National Federation to enable kids to cycle safely and with confidence in Ireland.
In addition to a varied programme of conferences and presentations, Velo-City Dublin also allowed participants to discover various cycling infrastructure around the city, including during the traditional Velo-City bike parade. The ride, led by the newly elected Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe, saw delegates cycle through the streets of Dublin towards the Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) cycle route, where they were met by a host of community groups, families and cycling enthusiasts, which followed the delegation along the UNESCO designated Biosphere towards St Anne’s Park.
The 2020 Velo-City conference will take place from 2 to 5 June in Ljubljana (Slovenia), which the same month will also host the Maraton Franja, part of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series and an official qualifier for the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships taking place in Vancouver (Canada).