Cycling helps improve air quality and keep down congestion on the roads. Major cities saw air pollution sink to record lows during lockdown, but bicycles also gave people a way to exercise. In May, the EU announced that funding for sustainable infrastructure, including for new or better bike lanes, will be doubled to €20 billion.
This commitment and the soaring demand for bikes and e-bikes has given Europe’s bicycle manufacturers confidence to invest and open new production capacity.
Meet the team from Cycleurope, a French company designing and manufacturing pedal and electric bikes in Romilly-sur-Seine. They have been working flat out for months to keep up with demand.
Cycleurope team © Cycleurope Industries, 2020
“Demand was so high that we turned on the new production line at our factory in Romilly-sur-Seine much sooner than expected, and hired 40 new employees” (Jérôme Valentin, Cycleurope).
European companies lead the world in producing the highest quality electric bikes, and cycling is nothing new to us Europeans.
“EU support for cycling meant we could push ahead with our expansion plans in spite of the crisis” (Jérôme Valentin, Cycleurope)
The success of Cycleurope is just one example of the opportunities that the combined challenges of climate change and coronavirus brought into focus. As a result, cycling is emerging as one of key industries in Europe’s sustainable recovery. The EU’s Next Generation EU package makes €750 billion available to help EU countries repair and come out stronger from the crisis. It will boost private investment and support companies damaged by the downturn, ultimately saving and creating jobs.
Workshop at Cycleurope © Cycleurope Industries, 2020
“We decided to re-open our business early to prepare for the end of lockdown” (Jérôme Valentin, Cycleurope)
Promoting green mobility is a key part of the European Green Deal, the EU’s plan for Europe to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050. To get there, we will need to cut our transport emissions by 90%. And since lockdown, many people are thinking that cycling could be part of the solution.
A man and his son on their bicycles alongside the river © European Union, 2020