January 2014
EU Officials Want Brussels Supermarkets to Fix Bike-to-Shop conditions

EU Officials Want Brussels Supermarkets to Fix Bike-to-Shop conditions

Photo caption: From left to right: Adrien Lenoble (3rd prize), Yves Van Stralen owner-operator bike shop La Maison du Vélo, Philippe Randaxhe, (1st prize winner), Philipp Cerny (2nd prize), EUCG President Lewis Dijkstra, ECF Project Manager Randy Rzewnicki

The “Bike to Shop Brussels” project motivated approximately one hundred bike enthusiasts to cycle through a gloomy Belgian autumn and share their experiences on the status of bike shopping in the city. About half of the participants were EU staffers and officials. The outcome of the project is an orchestrated effort to improve cycling experience in shops and, mainly, in supermarkets.

The goal was dual: To encourage shop by bike and to maximize the impact of the project by targeting influential “insiders” in EU institutions. Imperative was the support of EUCG, the European Union Cyclists Group, which consists of more than 1400 EU staffers.

“We are happy to be part of this action. We embody a multifaceted layer of the Brussels cyclists’ community. With so many nationalities and income levels represented, there are very diverse shopping patterns at the EUCG, making of it a trustable sample group” said Lewis Dijkstra, EUCG President.

Six lucky participants won bike trolleys of latest technology, sponsored by “La Maison du Vélo”, a bike shop specializing in trailers in Schaerbeek. Philippe Randaxhe, the grand prize winner, proved how a simple yet sophisticated project can hit its target: “I work in DG Research and I know there is almost nothing being done to support cycling. I want to find ways to change that”, he said while accepting his prize. Motivating the right people is indispensable to achieve change; and Bike to Shop did just that.
Making major supermarket chains to address the issue

ECF will be talking to managers and higher level officials at supermarkets in Brussels and across Europe, bringing to their attention the economic power of customers who come by bike and trying to stimulate a “positive competition” by promoting the most cycling-friendly enterprises.

“We pledged participants in Bike to Shop Brussels that we’d bring their suggestions to the managers at the shops that they give their custom. They will be hearing from us” said Randy Rzewnicki, project manager at ECF for the project. ECF is the European Cyclists’ Federation, representing 500,000 people in 40 countries.

Already two of the three major supermarkets in Belgium have expressed interest in cycling, saying they wanted to support their customers and employees cycling to their shops. Colruyt received a lot of press attention a few years back, when they offered employees bikes and safe places to park them. Also Delhaize announced their interest – intending to build or upgrade cycle parking facilities at over 100 of their shops.
Bikes can replace cars in most shopping trips

“We know that many people who cycle for transport still use cars for shopping trips”, Rzewnicki noted. “But, four out if five shopping trips can be done with a bike basket and or bike bags. So we challenged EUCG members to do more shopping by bike, and to tell us about their experiences”.

The results? Shops, and especially super markets, need to improve conditions and infrastructure for cyclists, if they want to attract more satisfied clients from this population. “Most of the times it is impossible to park or maneuver your bike in the parking area, as the space is congested by cars”, highlighted Phillip Cerny, employee in the European Parliament and second prize winner in the Bike to Shop draw. The main suggestion from almost all participants was the need for safe and preferably covered cycle parking, close to the entrance.
About Bike to Shop

The initiative, set up by the CycleLogistics consortium and the ECF, , aimed to encourage people to shop by bike in the city which is the home of the EU institutions. CycleLogistiics is a project co-funded by EU Intelligent Energy with the goal of reducing CO2 in cities by having more goods moved by cycle. Recently CycleLogistics published a study “Potential to shift goods transport from cars to bicycles in European cities”, which has shown how the 51% of logistics trips by motorized vehicles in cities could be replaced by trips with cycles
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Contact: Randy Rzewnicki

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