Cycling is growing ever more popular among politicians in the EU parliament city of Brussels. One sign: Between 2004 and 2008 the number of cycle parking bays available to European Commission employees grew from 690 to 2,900. The European Two-wheeler Retailers' Association (ETRA) is using the opportunity to spread the news about electric bikes.
EU politicians in Brussels are putting their bottoms where their mouths are. After giving vocal support for bicycles as a way of moving around Europe's traffic-plagued cities for a long time, politicians are now also "practicing what they are preaching" and cycling around the EU parliament city in ever bigger numbers.
According to the Mobility department of the European Commission's Office for Infrastructure and Logistics, bicycle usage among European Commission employees "is exploding". In 2004 there were only 690 bicycle parking bays available in the greater area - last year 2,900 were available.
Another sign: The European Commission's service bike fleet were used by employees 27,000 times in 2008, which was 40% more than in 2007.
The European Two-wheeler Retailers' Association (ETRA) is using the newfound popularity to spread the news about electric bikes among EU decision makers.
When the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) of the European Commission, a voluntary project aimed at improving companies' environmental impact, organized an exhibition earlier this year, ETRA was present with a range of electric bikes.
The EMAS-hosted cycle exhibition was called "Get ready to Cycle" and aimed at getting more politician bottoms on bicycle seats. ETRA exhibited a range of electric bicycles, which were test-driven by a large number of employees and politicians over the 3-day duration of the exhibition, ETRA said in a press statement.
On 9 July the European Commission's directorate for transport and energy held its annual "TREN DAY", an internal event which takes stock of the achievements of the past year and outlines the tasks of the year ahead.
This year the theme was "electric mobility" and ETRA gave the 600-odd participants in the event the opportunity to test-ride electric bikes of all kinds - from pedelecs to e-scooters - during the lunch hour.
"Among the large number of test riders were Franz-Xaver Söldner, deputy head of the unit Clean Transport and Urban Transport," said ETRA afterwards.