By Niccolo Pannozo, 3/3/2016
Top names of the industry met on the first day of the Taipei Cycle Show to send a strong message in favour of collaboration with governments and advocates in order to grow the pie for everyone.
The first-ever Leaders’ Panel offered the platform for BOSCH, GIANT, ACCELL, PON, KMC, Cycling Sport Group and the industry bodies from Europe (CONEBI), Taiwan (TBA) and USA (People for Bikes) to unite their voices behind a common vision: to grow the market for cycling through collaboration with cities, governments and consumers. The session was co-hosted by the Cycling Industry Club and TAITRA, building on the success of Velo-city Global conference which took place in Taipei gathering a record number of planners, decision makers and cycling advocates. Thanks to Velo-city Taipei, the cycling industry has gained a renewed conscience of its global dimension.
The list of participants was impressive, with names such as Robbert de Kock, Secretary General at the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry, Marc van Rooij president of SHIMANO Europe, Masahiko Jimbo SHIMANO marketing director, Frank Bohle, managing director at Schwalbe, and the president of Giant, King Liu, among others.
The leaders’ discourse: We need to find strength in unity
Raymond Gense, Director of Future Technology at PON Holdings and Chairman of the Cycling Industry Club, moderated the session: “This is a key meeting we’re holding today. On the table there are two questions: what is going to happen in the industry in the years to come and how we can advocate for that. One sure answer is that collaboration between city and industry needs to be strengthened even more”.
Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike systems and latest member of the CIC, agreed to these words. “It is not enough to have opinion makers, it is not enough to have technology” he added, addressing the many journalists in the room. “You need to have the infrastructure. Only then can the sales go up. And who can make the infrastructures? Cities and local governments”. Scott Rittschof from Cycling Sport Group & People for Bikes intervened too, underlining that at this point “bicycles have managed to be part of the discourse on smart cities and the future of mobility, but we have to go back to infrastructure. It’s a big job, but we are all strongly committed”.
Fleischer’s speech was also backed up by Rene Takens, from Accell and CONEBI: “We have to find a way to stimulate politicians and policy makers. Cycling must be safe, everywhere and always”. “We need to work together among industries and with public authorities” continued Tony Lo, from Giant “What can we do to enlarge the pie and access a larger share of the market? The industry is already strong: Velo-city showed how we can make of any place a cycling paradise – like Taiwan did”.
eBikes will change the perception of cycling: from sport to daily urban transport
One huge step in the right direction is the introduction of eBikes on the market. Since eBikes allow not only smoother, but also way longer commutes, they are shifting their target from older people to a younger public, improving the overall range of bicycles. The problem with eBikes, until now, has been regulation, but Gense already knows how to address the issue: “Once again, what we need in this respect is advocacy. We need to support advocacy and make it powerful, to obtain more public funding and a globally harmonised legislation that encompasses eBikes and pedelecs as well”.
Fleischer is sure that eBikes will help the shift from cycling as a leisure activity to cycling as an everyday mode of transport: “Even though they are mainly limited to Europe, eBikes are starting to reveal themselves as a smart solution for urban mobility”.
The opening remarks were delivered by Kevin Mayne, who is managing the Cycling Industry Club on behalf of the European Cyclists’ Federation as Director of Development.
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