Velo-city Vienna is over but everyday we can see concrete outcomes of this great great conference. Today I’d like to share with you one of my Velo-city discoveries who is one of the Cycling Visionaries Awards winner: Andreea founder of the skirt bike movement in Romania.
Hi Andreea, can you explain what skirtbike is?
Inspired by the huge cycle chic wave that rapidly spreads from Copenhagen to New York and Tokyo, two sisters started in 2010 the SkirtBike project as an advocacy blog that promotes urban cycling to women in Bucharest, Romania. The goal was to encourage women to cycle and to increase the number of bicycles on the streets by promoting their use in everyday life, going to work, school, shopping or any other daily activities. Twice a year SkirtBike goes offline for a a fun, stylish and friendly women bicycle parade. Since 2010, ten other Romanian cities have joined the SkirtBike movement, making it a national event, Almada from Portugal and Athens from Greece were inspired by Romanian parade and made something similar in 2013 and more than 5 cities from Romania will join SkirtBike next year.
I can say that SkirtBike is now a community of women who ride, not just a simple cycle chic parade.
Could you explain what you did to win a Cycling Visionaries Awards?
About Cycling Visionaries Awards
The programme seeks to support young individuals from various professional backgrounds and cultural contexts engaged in the evolution of cycling as key to the future of urban mobility.
A total of 60 beneficiaries were selected as Cycling Visionaries and won a free participation in the Velo-city conference, held in Vienna, Austria, in June 2013. During Velo-city, Cycling Visionaries met leading voices of the global cycling community and participated as delegates in Velo-city 2013 to expand the scope of their work. The awarded projects, ideas and visions have been published in Velo-city 2013 conference publications.
First of all, I’m very grateful to Velo-City Vienna Team and their sponsors because they gave me the opportunity to participate at the conference and also I’m thankful to have the support of all the people who voted me. I wrote an article on the blog (here) about Velo-City and how important is for me to be there taking into consideration that my sister participated at Velo-City in Copenhagen and I wanted to have a similar experience, to be inspired and to come up with fresh ideas that could help our project. I also sustain all Romanian projects submitted at Cycling Visionaries Awards, put a Facebook cover on our page and ask people to vote for us and all Romanian participants supported each other like that.
What was your favorite part of the 4 days?
All days were special for me, from the opening session to the final excursion around Vienna “Bicycle and arts” - I saw excellent sessions, I met inspiring speakers, I had a lot of fun at Bicycle Corso which was the biggest bicycle parade I’ve ever attended. In fact, I can say that my favorite part of the 4 days was meeting people, professionals or enthusiasts in the bicycle world. I had great hallway conversations thanks to Velo-City team which dedicated a space for Cycling Visionaries Winners and I had the chance to speak daily about SkirtBike or other themes.
What did Velo-city bring to you?
In three words: inspiration, motivation and confidence – fresh ideas that work and can be carried out in Romania too , motivation to continue what we started with the same enthusiasm as before, confident that we did well we have done so far for cyclists community. I need to say that it was a serious challenge for me deciding which sessions to attend. There were so many I wanted to see but I tried to focus on women, children or marketing campaigns, to find better ways to improve Skirtbike project and to help cyclists community growing in Romania.
How do you see the future for skirt bike and for you?
It’s time to involve more women in this voluntary project. We have a new member of the team and she will help us organize the event and also will write her cycling experiences on the blog. We plan to make a free cycling school for women, to find voluntary teachers for courses, to support a good cause at the next Bike Festival in Bucharest. We want to invite women cyclists who cook sweets, make lemonade, paint, sell homemade and handmade things and with the sales made during the festival, we want to buy bicycles and donate them for women or children Associations.
We would like to create skirtbike.ro as a platform for all skirtbike events in Romania, to attract more contributors on the blog and women from different cities to write their cycling experiences because we believe that women are the best bicycle advocates. They are change makers, socially involved, financial decision makers, they can inspire other women to ride and not at last, they are mothers that pass on to their children the good habits. Our plan is to transform skirtbike.ro in a perfect place where all women can socialize with more experienced female riders, can find cycling tips and tricks, inspiring stories or best places to visit on two wheels in Romania and Europe etc. For example, from September we will have a contributor from Copenhagen, a friend of us is moving there for studies and she will start writing for skirtbike.ro
I will continue to talk about my travels by bike in Belgium in a dedicated category on the blog – La vie en vélo @ Belgique but regarding the organization of events and my active involvement in SkirtBike project, it’s time to leave my place for someone else and dedicate my time for Cycling Associations in Belgium, where I live now. It’s sad to say that, but next year will be my last year working for SkirtBike.
Anything else you want to add?
Keep cycling! The life on two wheels is more beautiful!