VéloMai toolkit download: [VeloMai_Toolkit_2020-02-19-FINAL_v2]
Last updated: 19 Feb 2020
This toolkit is for the VeloMai local organisers in Institutions/DGs/Agencies/European schools on how to organise the campaign on both a corporate and on a local level. Last version at: eucg.eu/velomai.
1. VeloMai – bike2work challenge
VeloMai is an annual Interinstitutional cycling challenge (Institutions/DGs/Agencies/European schools) which aims to motivate people to cycle to work /school thus developing the habit of cycling to work/school regularly as well as mobilising volunteers for the campaign.
VeloMai began in 2016 as an experiment with the EASME Cycling Group (ECG) and DG MOVE and became a Commission-wide corporate event in 2017. In 2018, it was extended to other EU Institutions and in 2019 to Brussels European schools. The campaign received great acclaim and was even recognised with an award from the Brussels Region.
The bike to work challenge takes place from 1 to 31 May (including weekends/holidays). The overall programme of activities starts mid-April and finishes mid-June.
Staff can participate either individually or as part of a team. They register on a daily basis all the kilometres cycled by bike and/or the number of bike rides made during the duration of the challenge. Registration is via an online web application https://webgate.ec.testa.eu/cycle/index.php (see screenshot at the end of this document).
The focus is on frequency and regularity, and less on riding long distances. Therefore the prizes encourage cycling often, vs. cycling many km.
The campaign focuses on promoting cycling to work /school amongst those who don’t cycle regularly.
VeloMai has three target groups (using behaviour change steps (see 4.2)
- Those who do not cycle, Step 0-3: we aim to make them aware, curious and help them to try it out.
- Those who cycle occasionally, Step 4: we help them to start cycling regularly every day.
- Those who already cycle to work regularly, Step 5-6: we aim to mobilise them as volunteers to support/organise events, and be a role model for others.
Usually people make only one step up on the behaviour change scale during one campaign, for example someone who goes by car/public transport became curious about it last year (step 2), and will try cycling to work in practice this year (step 3). If you want to organise a campaign for people who already cycle a lot (Step 5 and 6, to “spice it up”), usually a period in late autumn or winter is better, when they do need motivation themselves.
2. Preparing VeloMai
2.1 Corporate level
Both the corporate part and the local part are organised along the principles of self-managing teams. 
In January, there is a central/corporate kick-off meeting where the core team representing the participating Institutions/DGs/Agencies/European schools discuss how to promote the campaign, build engagement, share best practice and information. The core team meets every month between January and May. If you are interested in participating in the core team, please contact EC-VELOMAI@ec.europa.eu
Each year, a new theme, motto and design is chosen and created. The most successful elements are repeated from previous years and new ideas are added.
The ‘central’/corporate events are open to staff in all Institutions/DGs/Agencies/European schools. Many of these are offered by the EC, but other institutions also organise central events.
Each Institution is encouraged to organise some ‘local’ activities in order to make the challenge more attractive and visible, and encourage as many people as possible to take part.
The core activities will be common to all Institutions/DGs/Agencies/European schools and will be organised at central level. They include:
- Opening and closing celebration event in Brussels and Luxembourg;
- Communication material of the campaign: poster, leaflets, app, surveys, others;
- Conference(s) and other events related to cycling to work open to all participants.
Results of the competition between Institutions/DGs/Agencies/European schools are published on MyIntracomm in real time. We also encourage publishing the results of the local competitions by category (best woman, best man, best unit, transporting kids, others) on your local intranet. A widget (self-updating status window for the intranet webpage) will be available for all Institutions enrolled.
2.2 Local level
- Institution/DG/agency to appoint one responsible person “VeloMai coordinator” (+ back-up if possible);
- Look for a few volunteers within the Institution/DG/agency (staff who cycle regularly, EUCG members, environment or wellbeing enthusiasts) who would be ready to organise VeloMai at local level and be part of the local organisation core team, one of whom to be the main contact person (e.g. EASME: 2 core organisers and ~10 volunteers to help a little).
- Kick-off meeting locally, 2 months before (in March):
- Invite local volunteers (pay due attention to gender, geographical, professional, or other balance)
- Collect programme ideas
- Draft the agenda for May with 1-2 programmes for each week ( = 4 to 10 programmes in total);
- Local communication plan: plan ahead the promotion on local intranet / newsletter, posters to be published in local buildings, results displayed on screen at the building’s entrance and on local intranet, best is to make a simple Excel sheet what and when will be communicated;
- Opening and closing ceremony locally. Opening: team building. For the closing: celebration, trophies and simple gifts for winners of different categories – if resources available;
- ‘Lessons learnt’ session – one month after closing with all stakeholders / volunteers – to exchange pros and cons and prepare it better for the next year.
3. For a successful local event
3.1 Five Steps for a successful local event
- Local organisers should decide in advance the effort involved and how to tailor it to the staff in their own institution :
- Minimum effort – communicate the campaign, and encourage people to cycle to work/school
- Medium effort – host an opening and closing breakfast, have a local competition and participate together in the central events
- Maximum effort – host several local activities every week, pilot new programmes; support the central (Corporate) organisation with volunteering.
- Start small – If it is your first year to organise events, it is a better to organise fewer activities with a good turnout of staff rather than aiming high with a too many ideas which don’t live up to expectations. This allows you learn how it works, get experience, and scale up over the next years. Local events should not be organised at the same time as corporate events – please check the draft programme before organising a local event.
- As a local organiser, focus your energy on mobilising local volunteers to organise activities. You may want to organise events yourself but you will be more successful by engaging other people to work with you. Get your colleagues involved in a group activity (breakfast/picnic ride/photo exhibition).
- Focus on low effort, high benefit activities. What can you do without an extra budget? What can you do with the already available resources? Make a list of all the ideas, and only select the few that are the easiest and most fun.
- Link ‘VeloMai’ to the organisational goals such as staff engagement, cross-functional collaboration, wellbeing, reducing pollution, congestion and carbon footprint (EMAS) in line with the Green Deal. This way it is a win-win both for the campaign and for the organisation.
3.2 List of ideas/inspiration for local events
3.2.1 Most popular local activities (to be organised at Institution/DG/agency level):
- Opening event e.g. breakfast ideally with management/sponsors of the DG/EA
- Bike2work competition using the VeloMai app (prizes to be agreed at each Institution/DG/Agency level);
- Closing ceremony or festival (e.g. breakfast) (choose between opening or closing)
- Cycling picnics (warm/dry weather, lunch, afternoon, or after work)
- Day without car – one day during the campaign
- BikeToLunch (to a nearby restaurant or park)
- Lazy Sunday bike ride (Sunday 11-13h);
- Bike competition for staff’s kids – in the park (weekend);
- Bike coaching – help colleague to find the easiest routes and guide them for a few days (EUCG support);
- Try out/rent e-bikes
- After the campaign, you can kick-off a local cycling group. See https://eucg.eu/how-to-start-a-cycling-group/
3.2.2 Indoor local activities:
- Bicycle maintenance training by an “expert”: Bike repair made easy.
- Repair Café – bring in bikes and tools to repair together
- Bike fair – showcase interesting bikes (possibly together with repair shop)
- Information stand near the entrance at the beginning of the event (e.g. for 3-4 days) to inform colleagues and/or distribute Villo cards
- Personalised Travel Planning: find the best route and provide maps to colleagues
- Photo competition – the most beautiful/old/funny bike
- How to dress for bicycle commuting in the rainy season? (workshop by volunteers who have clothes to show)
- Try out family and cargo bikes in the garage (from staff who already own them)
- Lunchtime conferences offered by local staff: cycling holidays, benefits of cycling, how to choose an e-bike, others.
- Language tips : Use the wording “staff cycling/driving” and avoid terms “cyclist”/”driver” which creates opposition. See “How smart language helped end Seattle’s paralyzing bikelash” (link)
3.2.3 Local, online /offline activities:
- Tutorial for newcomers about cycling facilities in the building
- Survey to raise interest and get data, use slido.com or similar
- Article in local intranet
- Arrows pointing to cycling entrance and parking
- Share pictures on intranet, twitter #velomai
- Welcome! poster at the bike parking area
- Motivational quotes and posters (preferably with Management support)
4. Toolkit Annex
Screenshots of VéloMai apps on the web and mobile
IT tool displays to each user the local stats in real time within his/her DG/EA.
Behaviour change: make one step up during a campaign
5. VeloMai contacts
 The EUCG has a list of members in DGs/buildings who act as local cycling contact person(s) and who will have access to the list of local EUCG members; this can be a good source for volunteers.