Driving change with bicycles

Jens Vigen reflects on the number of CERN people turning to cycling, and how this might drive change


CERN cyclists take the the roads for a critical mass ride (Image: Piotr Burtowy)

CERN staff and users are increasingly turning to bicycles for their daily commute. This was illustrated yesterday by a “Critical Mass” ride from Restaurant 2 to Restaurant 1 at lunchtime to mark the annual Bike to Work event.

Participants in the Bike to Work campaign challenge themselves to complete as many of their commuting journeys by bicycle (and other human-powered means) throughout the month of June.

With 106 active teams, each counting four members, CERN is the largest participant in the campaign in the French speaking part of Switzerland. As many as 50,000 people took part across Switzerland, taking to their saddles for the morning and evening commute.

There are many reasons for participating: it is a great way to stay healthy and increase fitness, it is good for the environment - but most of all it is fun. And with a little luck, some people might win one of the many attractive competition prizes.

Many of us who took part also hope that the campaign can accelerate the development and maintenance of cycling infrastructure, making cycling a safer and more attractive mode of transport throughout the year. We feel that bicycle lanes on and between CERN sites, for instance, and better bicycle shelters, would encourage more people to take to two wheels – and address parking problems and increase the general wellbeing of the CERN population at the same time.

In any case, cyclists are now too numerous to be ignored. I hope that many more of you will join us for next June’s campaign on your bicycle. Why not start practicing now…?

Jens Vigen coordinates the CERN Bike to Work initiative.