Stockholm’s big bike party

To coincide with European Mobility week, the city of Stockholm went car-free on September 16 to allow locals to enjoy a city center free from motor vehicles and to encourage inhabitants to discover sustainable forms of mobility such as cycling and walking. One square kilometer of the city center was closed to car traffic from 9 to 16, and the city arranged activities to promote sustainability and livability.

For the fifth year in a row, Cykelkarnevalen (the bicycle carnival) was planned to coincide with this event with exhibitors, activities for all ages, and four live bands. Cykelfrämjandet, Sweden’s bicycle advocacy organization, was among the exhibitors on hand to promote cycling. Cykelfrämjandet offered a kid’s activity: a challenging and fun riding track with obstacles and a bicycle see-saw in their zone located right in front of the House of Parliament.  Children could also participate in bicycle-themed crafts and learned about traffic rules in a fun and informative way.

The event attracted much attention from the media, with two radio channels and the major daily newspaper covering the happening.

Starting at 14.00, the now-traditional bicycle demonstration rolled away from Norrbro, and 700 bicycle lovers paraded through the city in colorful costumes to the sounds of Bicycle Beat Band, carried along in cargo bikes from Movebybike. The eight-kilometer route through the city was protected by police escort and the assistance of volunteers from the local cycling couriers.

Following the festivities in the center of town, the party continued at Cykelfrämjandet’s main offices on Kungsholmen. Vegan food prepared and delivered by food-bike service Vivo was enjoyed by all-comers, and bicycle advocates had the opportunity to network and share their experiences as cyclists in the Nordic area’s largest city both with each other, and with visitors from the EU Interreg HEAT Project for the central Baltic region. Cykelfrämjandet’s members and employees working on projects shared the organization’s activities ranging from courses for adults who have never learned to ride bikes, to coordinating bicycle planners throughout the country, to promoting bicycle tourism and mountain biking. Cykelfrämjandet is particularly proud of encouraging cycling through its roll in lobbying for 2018’s electric bicycle subsidy and the campaign “Moving Beyond Zero” to encourage health-improving active mobility.

By Hans Stoop, Cykelfrämjandet