I want to ride my bicycle

On 10 October BYCS organized an inspiring event for Zuidas employers to promote commuting by bicycle. More bicycles in Zuidas could transform the area, ensure that it remains accessible and help keep employees happy and healthy. BYCS wants to offer businesses support in order to maximize the huge potential of bicycles. The event was intended as a kick-off session, to introduce people to the power of the bicycle and to offer useful solutions to current problems. It was also a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of others.  In advance, agreements were made with bicycle suppliers about what they could and would offer. The results of both sessions were used to create a custom-made range for employers.  

50 X 30
Maud de Vries, responsible for Business Development at BYCS, says: ‘Ours is a social enterprise, driven by the idea that bicycles change cities and that cities change the world. We ask ourselves every day: ‘Where can bicycles take us?’ Our mission is 50x30; by 2030, half of all bicycle rides in cities around the globe should take place in cities. We create demand through innovations, campaigns and programmes that we develop with partners such as BAM, Mijksenaar and Royal Haskoning, and the profits of these projects are returned to the ecosystem we use to finance our Bicycle Mayor Network and to frequently scale up our tools. Our lab is the city of Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole. This is where we conduct experiments and pilot projects and where we involve neighbourhoods in activations.’

Zuidas is an important example for BYCS. Maud: ‘Every country, no matter how poor, rich, developed or underdeveloped, has a business district like Zuidas, with the same types of businesses. We want to lead by example: ‘if we can do it here, they can do it there.’ Our ambition is to become the greenest business district on earth. Sustainable mobility in general and sustainable commutes in particular play a very important role. Zuidas is a frontrunner, because the greenest business district on earth should include bicycles, to ensure that everyone here is happy and healthy.’

According to Maud, as many people as possible should commute to Zuidas by bicycle. ‘In the coming years, the number of people working in Zuidas will triple. Unfortunately, we do not have nearly enough parking spaces and the ones we do have are fast becoming almost unaffordable for businesses. The ring road was not built for this amount of traffic, which will inevitably lead to traffic jams and longer travel times. Commuting by bicycle not only ensures that your ETA is reliable, but it keeps you fit and healthy, contributes to your physical and mental health, it’s cheap and a great way to relax and exercise - giving you more spare time to boot.’

Employers play an important role in which mode of transportation people choose. They also set the standard for what is considered normal. Maud: “What is important to your employer? We believe that companies that think outside the box attract certain types of people. The use of bicycles is on the rise and it is about time that we understand just how unique this mode of transportation truly is. Cycling is much more than a way to get from A to B - it’s about transformation.’

The session on 10 October, attended by both employers and bicycle suppliers, centred on the question what needs to happen for Zuidas employers to make the switch to bicycles. Jaco Perlot, Zuidasdok area manager, pointed out that the urgency of bicycle promotion is now greater than ever, as it will only become more difficult for cars to access Zuidas in the years to come. Innovation manager Marcel van Beek provided inspiration with a demonstration on how Schiphol Airport is encouraging its staff to use bicycles. Employers at the meeting also shared their own views on how to get their employees cycling, while bicycle suppliers had the opportunity to showcase their range of products. More info: bycstowork.nl

Tekst: Romy Lange