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I want to ride my bicycle.

In July 2020, Gosselin made a bicycle lease plan available to its employees, making it possible for them to lease a bicycle. A training session was held this past Saturday by the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Education (VSV) for enthusiastic employees who have since become the proud owners of an electric bike or speed pedelec through this bicycle program.

Box of tricks

This past weekend, the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Education sent a few experts to Gosselin’s head office in Deurne. Part of the program was a training session on the proper use of electric bikes and speed pedelecs. We can no longer imagine our streets without these speed pedelecs or fast bicycles.  

Our employees were given a healthy dose of theoretical information before being set free to test their practical skills on a carefully laid-out track, where they were given a lot of tips and tricks and had their dexterity tested. Conclusion: It was a fun but mostly informative Saturday morning.

Gosselin’s hope is that the bicycle lease plan will motivate its employees to exercise more. It is also emphasizing its green ambitions by encouraging its employees to start commuting to work by bicycle.

Training speed pedelecs
Fortunately no one got hurt during the emergency brake test!

What our colleagues say...


Marjolein
(speed pedelec – lives 20 km away from work):

What was your main motivation for switching to a speed pedelec?
“When I used to take various modes of transport to work, the entire trip took me about 60 minutes. Unexpected delays often meant even longer transit times. The shift to my speed pedelec not only saves me a lot of time, it also gives me more flexibility AND it allows me to arrive at work with a clear head. Biking is a much healthier alternative of course!”

Do you use your bike for your commute? “Yes I do! Every day, summer or winter.”

What was your impression of the training? “It was absolutely helpful and interesting. I really hope that more road signs for speed pedelecs will be available soon. The way things are now is pure chaos.Even though most of the cyclists are fully aware of how to use their bike safely, the practical part of the training was both fun and useful, especially when it came to practicing braking techniques.”

What are the main challenges for speed pedelec and electric bike users?

  • Raising your hand to indicate direction while cycling 30 km/hour.
  • Being visible for cars (this goes for every type of cyclist).
  • Keeping other cyclists at a safe distance.
  • Clear instructions on when to cycle on the road and when not to.”

Key takeaways?
"The fact that the traffic rules have not been adapted for speed pedelecs which can lead to debates When I use the bicycle bell, I’m not doing it to be aggressive, I use it to let others know I’m going to pass or go around them. Apologies to anyone this scares, but better safe than sorry.”

 


Hank
(speed pedelec – lives 20 km from the office):

What was your main motivation for switching to a speed pedelec?
“First and foremost, I love cycling, so the bicycle is a nice alternative to my car. When I commute by speed pedelec to the office, it saves me more than 30 minutes daily. Biking home after a busy day at the office is an ideal way to alleviate stress, something that’s only made worse by being stuck in traffic in my car.”

What was your impression of the training?
“The classroom part was the most interesting for me. I am still amazed at how complex the traffic rules are for cyclists, and how huge the gap still is between the theory and practice. Even though there are a lot of rules and signs indicating them, they are either not posted or not adapted to the new situation in which speed pedelecs and regular cyclists have to share the road or bike path.There aren’t any signs at all on the towpath along De Vaart in Brecht, where my commute starts. Technically, according to the traffic regulations, this means that speed pedelecs are not allowed.. As an experienced cyclist, the practical part of the training wasn’t as much of an eyeopener for me as it was for some of my colleagues. The obstacle course – especially the carpets simulating loose sand – was challenging for many. The emergency brake test made some people nervous. We had to estimate and place a traffic cone on the course to indicate how long it would take us to make an emergency stop while cycling 30 km/h. It got a couple of raised eyebrows from the instructors to see where people placed their cones, but luckily it only resulted in a couple incidents with squealing brakes, a few skids and unintentional rear wheelies."

What are the main challenges for speed pedelec and electric bike users?
“Defensive driving is the main challenge. I’m fortunate that my entire commute is along a single straight towpath. I’m always surprised to see how many dangers there are in regular traffic: side streets, driveways, intersections, slower cyclists, but most importantly: the terrible state of the cycling infrastructure. I do think however that most of the ‘speed cyclists’ are responsible on the road. Unfortunately the negative image that still plagues speed pedelecs is caused by a minority of ‘road hogs’. A lack of knowledge about the regulations and ignorance causes a lot of frustration.People often look at us and express frustration when speed pedelecs are on public roads even though we are allowed to, and are even required to be there.”

Key takeaways?
“Many traffic regulations and situations were still new to me and are important to be aware of. A little side note: wouldn’t it be a good idea for all active road users to update their knowledge on traffic regulations every once in a while (Gosselin offers online trainings as well)."

Tips & tricks?
“What struck me during the practical sessions was how many of us didn’t know the finer points of using the brakes properly. 80% of the braking power needs to be exerted on the front wheel, the art of applying your braking power correctly and in the right amounts is key to avoid being launched over your handlebars. Practice makes perfect!”

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