City cycling 2020 is almost half a year over. Because of Corona, Mayor Dietlind Grabe-Bolz and Mayor Peter Neidel have only now honored this year’s city cycling star. Dr. Alice Henke-Saipt was this year’s figurehead of the event in Giessen: the kilometers she had covered were visible to everyone and she wrote blog posts about her trips. A gift was handed over at a press conference because the usual closing event and the tombola had to be canceled due to the corona.
There would have been something to celebrate: Gießen set a record with 427,797 kilometers in 21 days. That is 120,000 kilometers more than the year before. “Of course it’s not about driving down kilometers,” says Katja Bürckstümmer, the organizer of city cycling. Nevertheless, she sounds proud when she says that Gießen is one of the top five percent of the participating municipalities. A total of 116 teams with 1924 people took part in Giessen. Bürckstümmer draws particular attention to the participation of schools: 25 classes registered this year. That certainly has to do with the pandemic. “In the Corona period, public transport is not that attractive,” says Bürckstümmer.
Grabe-Bolz would like at least some participants to get on their bikes more often after cycling instead of taking the car or bus. “We want to motivate people with city cycling to rethink their mobility behavior and gain new experience.” After all, private transport is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases.
That worked for Henke-Saipt. She got back on her bike in 2018 by cycling in the city. “After 30 years of abstinence,” as the 62-year-old explains. She covered 818 kilometers on the bike while cycling this year and has stuck with it until now. Even if she lets her husband bring her in the morning – because it is so dark – after work she goes home on the e-bike. Henke-Saipt explains that she could use the gift that was presented, a bicycle bag. She shows what she takes with her every day for cycling: a thick jacket, thick gloves, safety vest, and balaclava.