Thursday 5 June 2014

"I'm exhausted, I'm inspired and I want more!" - Lessons from the world's biggest cycling conference

Bike SA's CEO Christian Haag gives an insight into the world's biggest cycling conference. 

From the time I received the phone call on 22 December 2011 that Adelaide had beaten Vienna and Rio de Janeiro to host the 2014 Velo-city Global cycling conference, its been a long road for all partners and stakeholders who have supported the development of this wonderful conference – of which there were many.
 Last week saw their work come to fruition.
Manfred Neun (European Cyclists' Federation) and Stephen Yarwood on the final day of the conference. 
 Firstly, hearty congrats to Program Director Margaret Howard, who delivered a well-rounded program of speakers - from the high level inspirational and aspirational to those who shared detailed academic précis. 

What a terrific outcome for Adelaide to have over 500 national and international delegates descend on our City to work at getting more people riding. As Ambassador Sponsor and as the State’s peak advocacy body, Bicycle SA clearly had a keen interest in ensuring a legacy outcome be delivered for the State. 

Our Patron, Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood and Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan, both committed at the opening and closing ceremonies to work to provide our community with greater choice in how we transport ourselves through our daily lives in safer and more healthier ways. As a passionate Place Maker, Adelaide City Council CEO Peter Smith was keen to ensure that the conference shed light on how contemporary cities meet the many challenges of growing their economy while managing their growing population of residents, workers, students and tourists - all the while fostering sustainable prosperity. 

Within that context, standout performances from New York City’s former Commissioner of Transportation Janette Sadik-Kahn, Florian Lennart from the Intelligent City Forum and the ever-entertaining Mikael Colville-Andersen from Copenhagenize Design all provided the ‘inspirational’ goods. As conference delegates, we all (in some way) sign up and pay our money for that ‘hit’ of inspiration - that THING that will feed us through the hard and lonely times of cycling advocacy.  

The words of these speakers and many others will remain with me for some time to come. Additionally, the network connections our staff made will have a wonderful impact on how Bike SA does its business into the future. And Bike SA is also immensely proud to be invited to be on the inaugural Steering Board of the World Cycling Alliance for the next two years – but more on that to come…! In short;
  • We were proud to be the Ambassador Sponsor
  • There was a great mix of local, national and international visionaries
  • The overall vibe in the rooms and foyers was great – as good as I experienced in Vienna last year
  • The all-important conference food and venue facilities were outstanding – congrats to Adelaide Convention Centre CEO Alec Gilbert and his team
  • But the greatest accolade must go to the many conference volunteers who were the GREATEST!…with their friendly and welcoming ways
 I’m exhausted, I’m glad its over, I’m uber inspired and I want more…everything a good conference should deliver really.

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