For the first time this year pedelecs will be part and parcel of the national "Mit dem Fahrrad zur Arbeit" project due to kick off on 1 June. ExtraEnergy is a co-sponsor of the Bavarian leg of the project, which calls on employees to go to work with their bikes, rather than cars.
Hans-Dieter Berg, chairman of the Bavarian chapter of Germany's bicycle association Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC), invited pedelec owners to participate in this year's "Mit dem Fahrrad zur Arbeit" (Go to work with the bike) project.
Speaking in Schweinfurt at the official launch of this year's project, he said opposition in the ADFC to membership for pedelec owners was something of the past and appealed to pedelec owners to participate in this year's "Go to work with the bike" project, which will run from 1 June to 31 August.
"All bikes which require riders to pedal, are most welcome," Berg said, after a short test ride on a pedelec provided by ExtraEnergy.
The project urges citizens to go to work with their bikes, rather than cars, because it's healthier and environment-friendlier.
It's the project's ninth year in Bavaria and its third year as a national project. ExtraEnergy is a co-sponsor of the project in Bavaria. Another sponsor is German pedelec manufacturer Kalkhoff. This year the pedelec will specifically be promoted as an alternative way of going to work.
The project has experienced strong growth in recent years. For instance, in 2008 a total of 60,000 workers from 6,300 companies participated in the state of Bavaria alone, which was 33% more than in 2007. According to the Ministry of the Environment and Health of the Bavarian government, the 60,000 participants released 3,400 tonnes CO2, 12,500 kilogram stikoxide and 1,250 kilogram fine dust less into the atmosphere in the 3-month period, by going to work with the bike and not the car.
The strength of the project lies in the wide support the initiators, ADFC and AOK, Germany's biggest public medical insurance company, have found in the community.
In Bavaria the trade union DGB, the business association VBW and the Ministry of the Environment and Health support the project - apart from a number of sponsors.
The DGB urges its members to use the bike to come to work, while VBW urges its company members to become bicycle-friendlier, by providing showers, change rooms and lockers for employees on the premises.
Employees must enter in teams of four and come to work with their bikes at least 20 times in the 3-month period from 1 June to 31 August to stand a chance to win some attractive prizes.
"Naturally, we hope employees will continue to bike to work after 31 August. Also those employees with pedelecs at home," said Berg.
Copy and photo: Christoffel Volschenk
15 May 2009