EU Cycling Group (EUCG)

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How to …

This a list of the most frequently asked questions about cycling and working for the EU institutions. Further questions? Leave a comment below.

… learn to cycle with confidence?

Training is available for staff. Go here for info and to Syslog (Commission intranet sites) and to enrol.

… find your way around Brussels?

The official Brussels cycle map with colour-coding of steep hills is published and regularly updated (a new edition came out in 2016) by Brussels Mobility.

It is a ‘must’ for anyone cycling in Brussels, as it indicates cycling routes (existing or planned ones), cycle paths, SULs/BEVs (one-way streets with contra-flow cycling) and bike (repair) shops. And it shows the public transport network, is accompanied by a street index, and, the icing on the cake, is plastic coated so that you can use it easily during your rides (even in the rain). The EUCG is one of the cyclists’ organisations which distributes the cycle map of Brussels for a handling charge of 1 EUR.  If you are an EUCG member and you want a copy of the map, please send 1 EUR (well wrapped to avoid easy detection) via the internal mail to the office address of Kerstin Ringler, our EUCG map person, together with a clear indication of your name and office address. Kerstin will email you the map on receipt of the payment. If you are not a member of the EUCG you can buy a copy of the map from GRACQ or Fietsersbond for 1 EUR (+ postal charges, if you wish to have it send to you). They are located at the Maison du Vélo / Fietsershuis, rue de Londres 15 Londenstraat, in 1050 Ixelles/Elsene (near Troon/Trône Square).

You can also find and share good bike routes at Fietsjewerkweg .

… use a Commission service bike?

Staff working in most Commission buildings* in Brussels have access to a total of almost 300 service bikes provided by our employer. These bikes are intended to help you get from one building to another during their work. You must return them to the building from which you took them – they belong to a given building and are not intended for one-way journeys. You are not supposed to take them home, but should make every reasonable effort to return them to their cycle rack at the end of the day.

The keys are kept by the security guards either in the garage or at the main reception. Each bike is numbered. On most bikes you will find the number on the rigid bar that attaches the top left of the carrier to the seat post.

If you notice problems with Commission service bikes, please immediately inform OIB.9 (by internal telephone at 87879 or by email). Do not attempt to repair them yourself! However, you should always check the tyre pressures before using any bike. If the tyre pressures on your service bike are low, ask the guard for a pump and pump them up yourself before setting out.

Other EU Institutions (European Parliament and European Economic and Social Committee/Committee of the Regions) also have service bikes.

*This links to a list provided by DG Administration’s Green Housekeeping. Access restrictions apply to this server if you are using a computer outside the Commission.

… find a ‘bike mate’?

To help people get over any apprehension they may feel about cycling to work, the EUCG runs a “bike mate” service. If you would like an EUCG member who lives near you to drop by and collect you for a few days, while you get used to the route and traffic conditions, please let the EUCG (Bike-Mate coordinator) know. She will find a volunteer who regularly cycles to work, who can show you the various options for routes to work and back and also give you hints for riding in Brussels traffic, telling you how to avoid obstacles on the way. One of the reasons the traffic can seem frightening at first is just that it is unfamiliar. After even just a few days cycling it can feel much better (especially as you ride past colleagues stuck in their cars in a traffic jam).

If you are an experienced cyclist and would be prepared to help unsure cyclists to find their feet, please let Kerstin know that you would like to offer your services as a bike mate.

… park my bike?

Practically all Commission buildings and other EU Institutions in Brussels  have a cycle rack in the garage. A few buildings also have cycle racks outside the main entrance. Unfortunately some of these racks are not always well designed. Most of the racks in the EU Institution garages are intended to hold the bike upright by the front wheel. Not only does this risk twisting the rim of the wheel, but it is difficult to secure the frame to the rack. Furthermore many wheel-holding racks are not designed to take wide tyres, and cannot be used by people with mountain bikes. Nor are they suitable for the popular folding bikes which have small wheels.

We prefer the “inverted U” bicycle rack that lets you rest the frame of the bike against the rack, and lock the frame to the rack. The EUCG encourages the relevant services in the Institutions with responsibility for the racks to replace the current inadequate racks with the inverted-U model.

…fix my bike?

EUCG has made repair kits available in some 40 Commission buildings (at the reception of those buildings where service bikes are available).

OIB announced at the 2013 annual general meeting that pumps and repair had been ordered for Commission buildings. We also understand that kits are available in the Council Secretariat buildings, including in the main entrance on level 02 of the Justus Lipsius building, and that similar plans are afoot for the European Parliament.

If you experience any problems, please leave a comment or contact us.

For more advanced skills, les Ateliers de la rue Voot organise regular courses on bicycle repair and maintenance.

…find a shower at work?

Not every building has showers, but many* (internal Commission website) do. They are almost all locked and the security guards at the main entrance to the building will give you the key. The showers tend to be in rather obscure places in the building, but EUCG knows where they are and can tell you if you can’t find the one in your building. Why are they kept locked? After all, the toilets are not locked!

The Commission is trying to keep its cleaning bill low, and locking the showers may be a way of reducing the time cleaners spend in each building. If we keep the showers clean, we have a better argument for not having to go and get the key from the guards.

So please leave the shower clean!

*This links to a list provided by DG Administration’s Green Housekeeping. Access restrictions apply to this server if you are using a computer outside the Commission.

… find a bike shop?

The Cycling in Brussels and GRACQ have good lists of shops.

… cycle all over Europe

EuroVelo is a network of 14 long distance cycle routes (and counting) criss crossing the whole European continent. They have been mapped out for use by cycle tourists as well as for day to day travel. Check it out.

…and then say ‘flat tyre’ in 23 European languages? 

Get the EU cycling lexicon. EUCG members can receive a free paper copy of this indispensible companion now available in its 2nd version from Kerstin or eucyclistsgroup@gmail.com or download it here.

… get rid of your bike when you no longer need it? 

Recyclo will gladly take your unwanted bicycle off your hands. Recyclo are authorised by the Brussels Region to put warning stickers on bikes which appear to have been abandoned, and remove and repair them if they are not reclaimed. Contact Tom Berger for further information tom@cyclo.org


6 Comments

  1. Caroline De Munck says:

    http://placeovelo.collectifs.net/la-belle-promise-1481

    Can you place promote participating to the Critical Mass this very Friday?
    6pm Porte de Namur, 7pm Place De Brouckère.

    To celebrate the Bike Lanes on the central boulevards!

    Thank you!

    Like

  2. Geert says:

    Hi, your links to “Fietsjewerkweg” and “Ateliers de la rue Voot” do not function any longer!

    About the pumps (to be) ordered by OIB: do you know if a pump is foreseen at L86 and at L130?

    Geert

    Like

  3. EUCG says:

    HI Geert – thanks for spotting the dodgy links. We’ll fix them now.

    Don’t know about the pumps in those two buildings – we’ll ask around and get back to you.

    EUCG

    Like

  4. Phil says:

    My new bikeshop is open for almost 7 months now! It is located at Place St-Pierre 20 in 1040 Etterbeek!
    VELOPHIL is the place to find a good bike, great accessoires, excellent service and off course a place where your bike can be repaired!
    Have a look at velophil.be (still under construction)
    See you soon.

    Phil

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lea says:

    Hi,
    Do you have connections to any organisation/company that sells the Babboe electric cargo bikes in Belgium? I have found only one such company; they sell over the internet but they are very difficult to reach – i.e. they do not respond neither by email nor by phone.
    There are other cargo bikes sold in Brussels but those cost around 4.000€ which is twice the price of a Babboe. So Babboes are more affordable but where to buy a Babboe, that’s the question!
    Grateful for any help!
    Lea

    Like

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