Another thing I do

Do we share the opinion that riding a bike is one of the best things in life? Do you dream of a future when the traffic in every European city will look like downtown Utrecht? Do you find the best relaxation on two wheels somewhere out there in the landscape? Then maybe we will understand each other.

I’ve had an involvement with cycling for a long time: as a touring cyclist, a city cyclist, a campaigner and most recently as a cycling teacher; in my free time, as a volunteer an as a side job. Here I’ll describe some of my experiences, activities and interests. If you have the impression I could help you with your project, get in touch!

Blog
My personal blog, which I mainly use for documenting mechanical stuff and tours, and for related musings, is here: twobiscuits.at.

History
From 2002–2012 I was active in ARGUS (now Radlobby) as a campaigner for everyday cycling as a mode of mobility. Locally in Graz, at regional level in Styria and then at the national level in the federal ministry; via the European umbrella organization ECF I also got to know colleagues from many other countries, and learned a bit about the situation of cycling in other parts of Europe. At the end I drew a line under my voluntary actvity. But I retain a certain level of expertise. I have an understanding of topics such as quality of bike infrastructure, rules of the road and international comparisons. I’m not some top expert on everything. But sometimes there’s a kind of amateur knowledge, for example in the form of a user-like point of view, that can be useful.

A compliment
One of the nicest compliments at the end of my active period characterized me as “persistent on the issues, sympathetic in person”. I hope that is true. As a campaigner one often has the task of being demanding and even a bit polemical towards politicians and public officials. Personally, though, I found the worlds of, for example, traffic engineers and jurists fascinating – maybe every job of trying to develop things inside complex sets of rules and demands interests me. 😅

Aktion Licht und Technik
The project in Graz, that is now known as Aktion Licht + Technik (project on light and mechanical equipment) was started by me in 2007 (?) with the support of the then regional minister for transport, and then also from the city of Graz, in cooperation with the police and Bicycle (a social enterprise that runs a bike workshop operation). On several evenings in spring and autumn the project pops up at different locations on the streets in Graz and checks bikes to see if they are properly equipped. There are small rewards for people whose bikes are in perfect condition and free or cheap spares and repairs for any issues that don’t need a full workshop.

StVO guide
In 2013, after the StVO, the Austrian rules of the road, had gone through a couple of amendments, I developed a new guide to the rules for cycling for the Radlobby. The concept, text, graphics and layout were all done by me. It was a fun and fascinating exercise in organizing the rather complicated subject matter into a form that would represent the rules accurately, but in an understandable and accessible way.

Bike teacher
In 2022 I discovered a lovely way to do something for cycling again, as a side job: I qualified as a klima aktiv mobil Radfahrlehrer (that’s a certificate issued by the federal climate/infrastructure ministry) and now work seasonally in the project radfahrtraining.at at primary schools in Graz.
As a teaching activity this work is fascinating, demanding and multifaceted. I love the work with the children. But working in the team is just as great: we always work in pairs, help each other out and complement each other, learn a lot from each other, communicate on the fly about what we’re doing and reflect on a lot of details together. We have very different backgrounds and all contribute something to the shared style in the project. Safety and an efficient training cycle depend a lot on exact local knowledge of the streets around each school, so love of the city and its neighbourhoods is a feature. Not least, the work has a social dimension: we experience children from well-off backgrounds, for whom cycling on the streets as an everyday way of getting around is completely normal, but also children who are less privileged and have less of a connection to everyday cycling, often don’t have access to a streetworthy bike or can’t ride a bike at all – but who make huge progress in the (too few) hours we have with them and go back to their class with big smiles on their faces. All in all, this is the most fantastic change from desk work.