Velo City is the largest annual gathering of cycling advocates and planners, with hundreds of attendees, presentations and panel discussions spread over four days. While topics range from urban planning and bicycle path design and development, to creating equitable environments, effective strategies for advocacy and developing sustainable tourism projects, mountain biking was sadly once again vacant from the official program at the 2023 event in Leipzig, Germany May 9-12.
With our firm belief in the importance of including mountain biking in bicycle planning, and of the contributions the mountain bike community can offer the broader cycling world, IMBA Europe took the lead in organising a special mountain bike reception with the collaboration and support of MTB Tourismusforum, CIE, DIMB and the generous financial support of ZIV, the German bicycle industry association. Attendance at the outdoor event, held on the terraces of the historic Moritzbastei cultural centre during the evening of May 9, exceeded all expectations, with over 200 guests mingling for up to five hours.
While the visitors were thrilled by the display of bicycle handling skills of trials athlete Marco Hösel hopping around the site, discussions focused on the positive contributions of mountain biking and the common goals of the mountain bike community and the broader cycling advocacy organisations. The overwhelming public response made it clear that the attendees of Velo- City are interested in learning more from their colleagues in the mountain bike sphere.
“All of us here at Velo City and in the mountain bike community at large share a love of cycling and understand the societal benefits that follow from getting more people on bikes. To grow interest in cycling, however, we need to lower barriers to entry, and we can do that through improving bicycle infrastructure and fostering cycling culture. That’s equally true in the mountain bike community, and among cycling advocates at large. We all can benefit from greater synergies and collaborations,” says Hans Stoops, Advocacy Officer at IMBA Europe and initiator of the first-ever mountain bike reception at Velo City.
Let’s ensure that mountain biking makes an even bigger presence at next year’s Velo City in Ghent, Belgium June 18-21 2024.
“Philipp Schaffer” photographer credit