Call For A Wider View And Closer Cooperation Between Industries

By Susanne Brüsch

The Taipei Cycle Forum that was held this March during Taipei Cycle Show, hosted four major sessions on two days. The sessions focussed on bicycle design, cycling culture, e-bike trends and future city. For each topic, organizer TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) had invited speakers from different parts of the world and participants from various business fields connected to light electric mobility.

The scope of the Forum was to discuss in an interactive conference format what the Taiwanese and the international cycling industry need to do to create a future with a more cycling friendly environment in general, and in the cities of tomorrow, in particular. A total of 12 speakers shared their expertise on trends, needs, and opportunities and around 150 participants discussed their conclusions from what they learned. The major threats that were discussed throughout the four sessions included the short-, mid-, and long-term requirements for

• political measures

• better products

• improved cycling infrastructure

• a more fruitful cooperation between industries

• and social aspects.

Conference designer and facilitator Mike Vijver of Orange Gibbon summarized that “the Forum participants clearly pointed to an important shortcoming in the cycle industry today. The focus in the industry is very much technical and product-detail-oriented. Whereas it should be looking at the surrounding world with a broader perspective - that of designing total experiences for different user groups. Examples of groups that feel the industry could do more for them include women and commuters”.

The “E-Bike Trend” session especially pointed out that there needs to be a clear improvement in the overall cycling infrastructure. To go with the wider view on the industry environment and the customer experience, cross-industry cooperation was identified among the top three tasks for the coming years. Bicle.com reported about this session in an earlier article, click here and read it.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the other three sessions:

“Bicycle Design” Session Demands Better Bike Design for Women

In the first session of the conference, the question was put up, what the cycling industry as a whole needs to do to develop, or to improve, in order to make the next step towards design excellence.

The participants worked out eight tasks and rated them by importance. As the two top tasks, they see a bike design that is more specific to women and improvements in cycling infrastructure in the cities. Maintenance and ease of use of the products should be improved in third place.

Further more, the participants required more weatherproofs solutions, and a better marketing as far as product and services go. This group, just as all the others that followed believes that the bicycle industry needs to cooperate more closely with other industries. Interestingly, customization of bike design as a future task was rated last, next to the desire for more biking in business.

“Cycling Culture” Session Looks at Social Aspects and Lobbying

The number one job for the cycling industry to accomplish in order to remain the leading force in the future developments of cycling culture and cultures around the world is education. Today’s children will be the producers, customers and city builders of tomorrow. If they grow up in a surrounding that celebrates cycling, it becomes a natural to them and to what they will create in the future. The participants of this session, that involved the Mayor of the Dutch city of Utrecht, Jan Van Zanen, also considered that a lot of current developments are directed at the extraordinary – in design, price, and application. There should, however, be more focus on the ordinary people. At the same time, Corporate Social Responsibility should gain importance. They suggested that an NGO for pro-cycling lobbying should be set up and that cycling associations, pro-cycling events and public bike sharing programs should receive more support. Again, improving the cycling infrastructure was a topic, especially with regards to parking. Surprisingly, the demand for legislation and local governments to support cycling culture to a larger extend was ranked last.

“Future City” Calls for Cooperation with Local Councils and other Industries

Answering the question, what cooperation players in the cycling industry should pursue when thinking of the city of tomorrow, the participants of this last session looked at possible work relationships with local councils to enhance the safety of cycling, commercial and private property developers to incorporate parking solutions and the mass media to promote the image of a happy cycling lifestyle. They considered app developers to involve schools and businesses and infrastructure developers to provide solar-powered e-bike charging stations. Furthermore, the group looked at the logistics industry, emergency services, educators, health services, GPS companies and energy suppliers to cooperate with for a better future using cleaner energy. The experts in this session involved the Chief Executive of the Cycling Industries in Europe, Kevin Mayne, and Commissioner Shyue-Tair Chen of Department of Transportation at the Taipei City Government.

For Taipei Cycle Forum Program and all speakers, click here 

The presentations can be downloaded here