Webinars and presentations with that inspiring integral approach
Also in 2021, Loendersloot Groep keeps inspiring governments to push cycling forward on the political agenda. Because of Covid-19, we currently often do so via webinars, often in close association with the Dutch Cycling Embassy. Public speaker and cycling advocate Ruben Loendersloot is a specialist in playing his audiences, putting the cycling message in a wider context.
“In my presentations, I always stress the importance of an integral approach. Cycling is not a separate box to tick. Cycling is just one of multiple means to achieve live-able and greener cities and the improvement of quality of life and social coherence, with the ability to boost local economics,” Ruben says.
Looking at the OpenStreetMap of cycle routes in Europe (see below), the blue coloured map of The Netherlands and Flanders in Belgium always look impressive, but the truth is that every country has been working on cycling in its own particular way for decades. Loendersloot Groep recently gave a presentation for policy makers in Slovakia. Their route map doesn’t look so bad, showing a close-knit network in Bratislava and a network of leisure routes that is actually more dense than France’s. Rather than just building new paths, Slovakia should focus on marketing and communication, citizens and stakeholder involvement, setting targets and creating cycling ambassadors.
“These route maps give an interesting insight into the cycling dynamics per country,” Ruben adds. “In some places these show an ideal cycling world, envisioned by planning departments, but with a very low level of usage. This is for example the case with the rural circular routes in France and the long-distance network in Denmark. Often the link with society is missing there. Health, transport, retail, education and law are all areas that could embrace cycling as active part of their policies. Also, are the routes actually built where people would cycle? And what about the quality and maintenance?”
Other factors are hardware design and the cultural background. “In Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia, the map shows a cycling network as dense at that of The Netherlands, but a lot can still be done to make the German paths as attractive to use as their Dutch counterparts,” Ruben analyses. “It is also important to remember that it took the Netherlands 40 years to get to its current level of cycling participation, so Germany is only a decade or so in that process. It is always important to keep working together with criticizers too. Small successful projects are always needed to convince stakeholders. They need to experience eye openers.”
However large or small the potential reach is of a webinar audience, Loendersloot Groep always adjusts its presentations to the relevant situation. Through our international projects, we are used to adjusting to different styles of government and processes, always able to inspire policy makers and members of the public alike. Webinars and presentations can also be part of a path of further workshops, site visits and enhanced consultancy services.