On Tuesday 28th of November, the trade mission in Bogotá, Colombia began!
The DCE together with participants and other organisations represents the Dutch Team for bicycle mobility. As a surprise, the Dutch Ambassador received a customized wooden bike from Bough Bikes! The evening ended with a nice informal diner in the centre of Bogotá.
Day 2 of the trade mission for the Bicycle Mobility delegation started with a bicycle tour through the city center of Bogotá.
The team stopped at various places amongst which a Cycling overpass and an important roundabout. This roundabout was the subject of a workshop where the group was divided into 4 teams. Each team then presented their own solution to the current situation.
We then hopped on the Bicycle to the National Library where Bas Braakman from Gemeente Eindhoven, Carolina Ramos from Move Mobility and Aletta Koster from Royal HaskoningDHV.
In the evening, PM Mark Rutte arrived for a group photo with all participants.
He then gave a speech where our director Mirjam Borsboom was invited to explain why the DCE is here and what we want to achieve.
The day started with a keynote presentation from the DCE, where Mirjam & Edward presented the history of cycling in the Netherlands, our path to a leading cycling country & experiencing cycling through Bogotá.
In the afternoon, our Holland Lounge stand was visited by Secretary of Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport Erik Gerritsen. Here to strengthen the relationship between Colombia and the Netherlands, Erik Gerritsen also met the Governor of Cali, Colombia.
The Holland Lounge then had the pleasure of having Prime Minister Mark Rutte. He fashionably arrived to the Bicigo Fair by bicycle, being welcomed by Mirjam Borsboom where he officially opened the Holland Lounge. Mark personally visited each representative of the Bicycle Mobility team, under the eye of numerous Colombian media.
On this day, the DCE is proud to say that a Letter of Intent was signed between Erik Gerritsen, the Cali Director of Planning, and the DCE for a ThinkBike Workshop!
The city of Cali is very interested in developing their city into a bicycle-friendly place, where Dutch expertise will be of great help to achieve this goal. Great to see that our participation in the Trade Mission already resulted in a promising cooperation between Colombia & the Netherlands!
Day 4 of the BiciGo 2018 started with matchmaking sessions between participants and Colombian parties.
Besides these matchmaking sessions, the academic program with presentations from various Dutch participants ran throughout the day. Bas Braakman from the Gemeente Eindhoven gave a presentation about Eindhoven’s transition from car-centered to a bicycle-friendly city.
Martijn Akkerman from Witteveen & Bos discussed the center bike lanes, common in South America and if they could be of added value to the Netherlands.
Jos Sluijsmans from Fietsdiensten.nl talked about the rise & development of cargo bikes and cycle logistics.
Maurits Lopez Cardozo of BikeMinded talked about space design challenges for bicycles, where thinking outside the box can prove to be of priceless added value to solve mobility challenges. One of the examples he used was to build a cyle lane below water level in order to make cycle and car lanes run independently from each other. Arno Cup of Ebike Netherlands spoke about the E-bike as a transport solution for the logistics of food delivery.
Rick Lindeman from I&W continued with the subject of E-bikes, and their impact on regional accessibility in the Netherlands. People in Bogotá are very involved with cycling, it’s one of the leading cycling cities in South America. This was noticeable by the number of people interested in our academic program. Most presentations were accompanied by a full crowd of BiciGo visitors, making the academic program very interactive.
On Saturday, BiciGo opened to consumers, with high attendance of the academic program.
Wieland Hendriksen from the Urban Future gave a presentation about their service CyclePRINT, the visualisation the analysis of cycling in cities.
We from the Dutch Cycling Embassy gave the BiciGo visitors an idea of why we cycle in the Netherlands, our history with cycling and our experiences with car-centric cities in the Netherlands.
We also spoke about the current developments like the E-bike and the cargo bike. After our bike ride on Wednesday, we got a sense of the promising cycling culture and infrastructure in Bogotá, and discussed current challenges the city faces. The audience was very interested in knowing how the transition went from being a car-centric country to the cycle-friendly place it is today.
The BiciGo day ended with an energetic performance of live music at our Holland Lounge, viewed by both the cycle team as a large audience of BiciGo visitors. A great ending to a productive day 5 at the BiciGo fair!
On our last day of the trade mission to Colombia, we got to do some serious cycling in Bogotá!
A group of early birds cycled up one of the mountains surrounding Bogotá, joined by the Dutch Embassador in Bogotá, Jeroen Roodenburg. The group then participated in the worldwide known Ciclovía, a car free zone on Sunday from 07:00 to 14:00. It involves around 120 km of streets, used by over 2 million people! Cycling through a part of the city, we were impressed by the number of people participating in this event. Very interesting to see that a city this big can dedicate a large part of the center to cyclists, a part usually defined by serious congestion. The city of Bogotá used this opportunity to present their Registro Bici: an initiative to fight bicycle theft in Bogotá. Bicycle theft, like in the Netherlands, is a serious problem in Bogota.
As the GDP per capita in Bogotá is lower drastically lower, theft reduction is evident to increase the number of cyclists in Bogotá. The system is similar to the Dutch way. By engraving a code into the bicycle, you have an unique code. You register this code online to your personal account, where you can add photos of the bike. Some of the local participants registered their bicycle the same day at the BiciGo fair, where we had our last day to promote cycling in Colombia. It was a very interesting and productive mission, where we had the chance to inspire Colombian people and they in their turn inspired us!