Conference / Cycling / Innovation

A Week at Velo-City: 2024 Recap

From June 19-21, Mobycon was in Ghent, Belgium attending Velo-City 2024. This year Strategic Consultant, Dagmar Köhler & Mobility Advisor, Robin Kleine moderated & spoke on panels, while Sustainable Mobility Consultants, Anna Wyner & Robin van der Griend hosted Mini-Mobycon Academy workshops at our booth! Our team also enjoyed the festivities of the week, including bike parades, networking events, bike tours, & more! Keep reading for a recap of Velo-City 2024 from the perspective of each team member in attendance!

Robin Kleine

Robin’s Velo-City 2024 Favorites:

It was a week full of interesting sessions, discussions and encounters. Although it was my first time at Velocity it felt like a warm bath. I enjoyed meeting both old friends and new people who are passionate about improving places through cycling. Both the sessions as well as the networking events were very valuable, where we shared ideas and learned from each other. I left Ghent with lots of new knowledge, contacts and inspiration to continue the work we are doing at Mobycon and with the MegaBITS project.

The Influence of Media

One of the session emphasized how the media seriously influences how people view changes in urban space. My takeaway is that we must be proactive and ensure our reasons for implementing bike infrastructure are well communicated, as negative reporting can easily dominate. Researchers in these sessions showed how these mechanisms work and emphasized the importance of narratives and communication, including the roles of the police, media and policy makers.

Another session I attended included an open source tool to assess bikeability (and walkability). I am planning to look into this tool and am interested in seeing how MegaBITS and Mobycon can utilize it. It is exciting to be apart of such a large knowledge exchange such as Velo-City.

MegaBITS Mania

I was fortunate enough to represent MegaBITS & The Province of Overijssel this year. Together with imec, we held three technical tours that allowed participants to experience the infrastructure and technology within Ghent, and even had a MegaBITS quiz at the end. The tours allowed us to witness new technologies such as Citizen Science projects and bike counters and inspired everyone in attendance.

Our session on Floating Bike Data was successful with around 70 participants. Thank you CIE for organising and moderating this session and Enschede, Vianova and Strava for joining us in this session.

The support for the Smart Pedal pitch was exciting, and is promising for continued incorporation of data and ITS to improve cycling for the future.


Dagmar Köhler

A Few of Dagmar’s Velo-City 2024 Favorites:

Empowering Women in Cycling

While Velo-city is renowned as the most empowering and uplifting conference for the cycling community, Velo-city Ghent stood out as a key moment for women to strengthen their networks. Three years ago, five organizations, including the European Cyclists’ Federation, Cycling Industries Europe, and Mobycon, founded “Women in Cycling” to connect women working in the cycling sector and to act together for more visibility, impact, and power. This year’s Velo-city allowed reflection on goals, visions, and activities during the parallel session titled “Women in Cycling: Bringing Diversity to the Cycling Sector.”

I had the honor of facilitating this well-attended session as a moderator. I took the opportunity to remind ourselves that just last year, the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Claudia Goldin for her research on women’s participation in the labor market. Women in paid jobs have not only individual but also structural and societal impacts on everything from budget allocations to value systems and the beliefs of the next generation. While economists have recognized this issue on the biggest stage, it is time for us to steer the change in the cycling sector.

The well-regarded session at Velo-city featured the sharp minds and wonderful personalities of Itsy Alveano, Melissa Bruntlett, Isabell Eberlein and Caroline Van Renterghem. Together with the mixed-gender session participants, we reflected on women on bikes, women creating bikes, and women in leadership.

The evening before featured Women in Cycling (WiC) networking drinks, where the latest national WiC networks from Switzerland and Germany were welcomed, and alliances for networks in Denmark, Turkey, and beyond began to form as the evening progressed.

No Place for Speed-Pedelecs?

Why are only 20% of speed-pedelec users across European countries female? This was one of the questions raised in session 6.4, “No Place for Speed-Pedelecs?” Speed-pedelecs are electric bicycles capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 km/h, and the average user is a middle-aged man commuting to work. Mobycon conducted a study comparing the rules and regulations of speed-pedelecs in five countries, and I had the pleasure of presenting an overview of where on the road (or cycle lane) speed-pedelecs ride in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Belgium.

Following inputs from Jan Pelckmans (Flanders), Michael van Eggermond (Switzerland), and Martina Lohmeier (Germany), we discussed with session participants the potential for a modal shift away from cars and where on the road they should ride. I wondered whether the anticipated user behavior of speed-pedelec riders determines their regulation – or whether their regulation determines who decides to use speed-pedelecs? We will explore this further on September 19 when we ride speed-pedelecs between Konstanz and Switzerland with professionals from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Registration is open – more information here.


Robin van der Griend

Robin’s Key Takeaways:

Velo-City is always such a positive experience. For me it is great that I get to meet so many old and new friends who are all working on how cycling can contribute towards more liveable places. I remember the first time I went that it was such a boost for my motivation. The meetings, sometimes formal and sometimes spontaneous, result in a lot of transfer of know-how and in new ideas for collaboration. I am excited to get started on these.

The “Famous” Circulation Plan

As this Velo-City conference was in Ghent, we got to hear and see a lot of the famous Circulation Plan that was implemented in Ghent a couple of years ago. Ghent has managed to significantly increase the share of people walking and cycling by implementing modal filters in the city areas within the inner ring road.

These consist mainly of placemaking elements combined with an ANPR-camera. Cars can no longer drive straight through the inner city, but can still access destination if needed. The big shift from using cars has resulted in a more attractive and liveable inner city. Sure, some streets were still quite car oriented as they had not been redesigned (yet). But the results are impressive nonetheless and in most streets it is a joy to cycle around. I went on one of the technical tours organized by the City of Ghent. It was interesting to get more background on the implementation and truly inspiring to see the impact first hand.

Mobycon Academy Mini-Workshops

This year we organized a series of mini-workshops at our booth. One where participants could redesign a street using Streetsketch and one where we explained how to design a roundabout with protected cycle infrastructure. For both mini-workshops we used local examples from Ghent. These mini-workshops were well received.

The wooden template we brought for the roundabout mini-workshop made it easy to quickly draw a roundabout with protected cycle infrastructure while also discussing the principles behind the design. And there was a little reward for those who did it right. If you didn’t have the chance to participate and would like to do a workshop like this as well, please reach out to me. We would be happy to organize a workshop for you.

Celebrating in Ghent

Ghent really did a great job on organizing this year’s Velo-City conference. The Velodrome at the venue was something extra, and they included a lot of local treats and humor throughout the conference. The Mastel pastries were ironed live in the conference hall. The bike parade this year was extraordinary, with so much entertainment around the route and even a staged ‘anti-bike’ protest as a reference to the resistance that the Circulation Plan first evoked (today, most people and businesses support the plan – here: evaluation report). It was a celebration not just for the participants of the conference, but also for the people of Ghent. I look back on an exciting week full of opportunities and would love to come back to Ghent another time.


Anna Wyner

Anna’s Perspective:

I started working at Mobycon in February 2022 and since then I have followed along closely and helped prepare our teams to attend the Velo-city in 2022 and 2023, albeit a bit jealously. It sounded like it was the place to be if you worked in the cycling field and I wanted to make it my goal to attend, and it finally happened this year! And let me tell you it was worth the hype. This was the biggest Velo-city ever, with over 1600 attendees with people from all over the world. Everyone I met was excited to be there and had a really refreshing positive energy. Working in the sustainable mobility field can be draining sometimes but it was great to be surrounded by so many people who were passionate about changing how people move and building more sustainable, equitable, and accessible cities. I left feeling refreshed and re-energized.

Brave New World for Cycling

The conference kicked off with an inspiring plenary where Janette Sadik-Khan introduced the “brave new world for cycling”. A cycling world that is no longer dominated by cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, but where cities like Pairs have quickly “transformed the city of lights to the city of bikes” and the number of people on bikes outnumber the number of people on cars in London. She closed with reminding everyone that building cycling infrastructure isn’t something that is new and that “it’s not a question of engineering, it’s a question of imagining”. For the rest of the conference I heard inspiring stories on how cities around the world are reimagining their streets and making great strides towards becoming cycle-friendly, sustainable, accessible, and equitable places.

Build Wider Separated Cycle Lanes

The second common theme I heard throughout the conference was the importance of building wider separated cycle lanes. We are seeing a variety of new vehicles on our streets that are different sizes and moving at different speeds. If we want to create a more inclusive cycling system where speed pedelecs, specialized tricycles, and human-powered bicycles can safely and comfortably mix we need to rethink how we design our streets. To allow these vehicles to safely and comfortable operate on our streets, cities can either to slow down traffic, through traffic calming and network planning interventions, and allow them all to mix safely and comfortably, or build wider separated cycle lanes. How this should be done was debated in many sessions and there was no clear answer but these interventions should be adapted to the local context of the city and the people that use the streets.

Ghentify: Improving life through Mobility

Filip Watteeuw, the Senior Deputy Mayors of Ghent, spoke during the second plenary where he introduced the term “Ghentify.” It is a term that came out as a result of the success of the Ghent traffic circulation plan in 2017 that aims at banning through traffic through the city centre. During our week in Ghent we were able experience the incredible transformation of the city where there were beautiful public spaces and people from all ages and abilities biked everywhere. Ghent is a reminder that you don’t always need an expensive protected bicycle lanes on every street everywhere to create a cycling city, but that with a few intentional interventions and policy changes, a low-tech solution like a traffic circulation plan can make a large difference.


Mobycon had a phenomenal time at Velo-City 2024! We enjoyed meeting everyone and are excited to stay connected! If you missed us this year, we hope to see you at Velo-City 2025 in Gdansk, Poland! Don’t forget to reach out, we would love to collaborate on a project and are excited for what we can accomplish together!

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