We got acquainted with social entrepreneurship, borrowed research methods, invited interesting experts to Belarus and even counted local cyclists ... 12 Belarusians took part in the tenth international VeloForum in Ukraine. What experience did the team of the Minsk Cycling Society bring from Ukraine, what did the Belarusian participants share with Ukrainian activists, what topics of the VeloForum in Ivano-Frankovsk will be heard on our PraRovar?
We got acquainted with social entrepreneurship, borrowed research methods, invited interesting experts to Belarus and even counted local cyclists ... 12 Belarusians took part in the tenth international VeloForum in Ukraine. Five Belarusian experts spoke at the event as speakers. What experience the team of the Minsk Cycling Society brought from Ukraine, how the Belarusian participants shared with the Ukrainian activists, what topics of the VeloForum in Ivano-Frankivsk will also be heard on our PraRovar, read this article.
What is VeloForum?
VeloForum in Ukraine is already a traditional large training event for cycling activists, where people exchange experience, participate in master classes, get to know each other and learn the best Ukrainian and foreign practices of various issues of urban cycling development. In 2018, the VeloForum was held for the 10th time. For ten years, the event has already acquired such a high status that Ukrainian activists, as a rule, do not have any questions about whether to go to the event or not. People are already accustomed to freeing the beginning of October and looking for opportunities to come to the VeloForum, despite the fact that they have to pay their own travel, accommodation and participation fee.
Belarusians have started going to the cycling forum in Ukraine since 2012. What for? To learn about new research and generally new topics in cycling, learn from foreign experience, get acquainted with strong experts and burning activists, in order to understand that even one warrior in the field, in order to be inspired and continue to influence the development of cycling in his city.
This year 12 Belarusians from three cities (Mogilev, Gomel, Minsk) attended the forum in Ivano-Frankovsk. Thanks to the project "Urban Cycling in Belarus", three participants from the partner organizations of the Moscow Military District ("Solyanka" , "VeloGomel", and "Tuteishaga rovara") managed to "bring" to the event due to the financial support of the European Union.
VeloForum in Ukraine, each time it takes place in a new city, which is selected by the organizers on a competitive basis, depending on the motivation of the activists, the interest of local authorities and many other factors.
Solyanka representatives at the forum Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
In Belarus, the first such conference was held in 2017 in Minsk under the name Forum "PraRovar"... The event was attended by over 200 people from 5 countries. Activists from 30 Belarusian cities came to the forum in Minsk.
The activists liked the idea that PraRovar should “travel” to different cities, so the second city-host of the Belarusian cycling forum is no longer Minsk, but Brest.
Master class on the forum Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
Ivano-Frankivsk? Where is it anyway?
Ivano-Frankivsk - a city in Western Ukraine (about 130 km south of Lviv) with a population of about 200 thousand people.
The slogan of the VeloForum in this city sounded like this: "Let's create a cycling capital!"
Dutch crossroads in Ivano-Frankivsk Photo from the archive of Maxim Puchinsky
Thanks to the commitment of local authorities and the work of activists, the city is becoming more cyclist-friendly every day. There are a large number of pedestrian streets, there are bicycle routes connecting the outskirts and the center, convenient bike paths and intersections, made according to the sketches of Dutch experts.
Already today, here you can learn how to properly build a cycling infrastructure, so if there is no way to go to Amsterdam or Copenhagen, come to internship to Ivano-Frankivsk.
Bicycle tour for forum participants Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
Everyone is doing research. Big and small
The topic of research on the forum was assigned a separate section. Everyone already has the understanding that for the development of cycling it is necessary to constantly study the current situation. There is simply a difference in the scale of research that organizations conduct, depending on the missions of these organizations and financial capabilities.
Pavel Gorbunov Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
Evgeny Horuzhy Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
By the way, the matter did not end with pure theory. Our expert, specially the day before his presentation, installed a do-it-yourself bike counter in Ivano-Frankivsk, and clearly presented how you can quickly use the data obtained.
Ukrainian studies on this topic were also interesting. Anna Sonicova (Dornier Consulting International) presented analysis results cycling in Zhytomyr and Poltava. Denis Molyaka and Oksana Miroshnichenko (А + С Ukraine) told how they studied bike use potential in the city of Nikolaev.
Slide from Evgeny Khoruzhego's presentation
Summed up the research block Bogdan Lepyavko with a presentation on how people can be mistaken when they draw conclusions about a certain phenomenon, judging by only one criterion: How do we think, analyze and draw conclusions?
New theme: bike and kids
Looking ahead, we note that the organizing team plans to pay special attention to this topic at the Belarusian forum PraRovar.
Inspired in many ways presentation Anna Atamanchuk, activist from Kryvyi Rih, who conducted a study on the peculiarities of cycling during pregnancy and cycling with children.
Anna Atamanchuk Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
Similar study, based on this experience, is now being held by the Minsk Cycling Society. Now the MBO team is conducting a survey of bicycle parents and pregnant cyclists on the topic “Bicycles and children”. If you or your friends are suitable for the target audience of the study, then we ask you to fill out a short anonymous questionnaire. The survey data will be presented at the PraRovar forum in Brest.
By the way, the topic of family cycling trips has something to share with Belarusian experts. So Svetlana Korol from Gomel revealed 7 secrets of the VeloFamily projectimplemented by the team of the public association "VeloGomel".
Svetlana Korol Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
We definitely invite Anna Atamanchuk and Svetlana Korol to the forum in Brest so that they share their experience with Belarusian activists.
Cycling garages and student cycling
Many Ukrainian bicycle activists were sincerely surprised that a system for storing bicycles in special garages had already started in Belarus. There is not a single bicycle garage in Ukraine yet. At least the participants of the VeloForum are not aware of such buildings. From this presentation from an expert of the Minsk Cycling Society Maxim Puchinsky "Keeping bicycles in the city" aroused genuine interest among Ukrainian activists.
Maxim Puchinsky Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
And on the third day of the VeloForum, Chairman of the Board of the Youth Association "Solyanka" (Minsk) Evgeny Rudskiy "Consolidated" this topic by talking about student cycling in Minsk and how Belarusian students independently build the first bicycle garage near the student dormitory.
Evgeny Rudskiy Photo: facebook.com/veloforum.conference
By the way, there were six representatives of Solyanka in Ivano-Frankovsk, which means that this young organization is determined to develop and adopt the best foreign experience in its activities.
The life of cities and towns
One of the tasks of the cycling forum is the exchange of information between activists from different cities. For example, in Ivano-Frankivsk, in a separate section, there was a series of presentations about what different cities did during the European Mobility Week. Someone will call it a "get-together", but it is precisely such an exchange of large and local achievements that inspires and gives rise to new ideas about methods and directions in work.
At the PraRovar forum, we invite activists from various Belarusian cities to prepare mini-presentations about local cycling so that we know about each other's work and support one another at least with information.
Forum "PraRovar-2017" Photo: Alexey Basalay
If you have something to tell about your city, even if about some one action, be sure to mark it when filling out questionnaires to the second international forum "PraRovar", which will be held in Brest on November 23-25.
All presentations from the VeloForum in Ivano-Frankivsk are available link.
How was the first Belarusian forum "PraRovar" in 2017 read here.
The expert work of the team of the Minsk Cycling Society was financially supported by the European Union within the framework of the project “Urban Cycling in Belarus”.
Text: Tatiana Zharnosek