"Black Tie Biking" is the first free bike-sharing program for business people in Romania.
“Black Tie Biking” is the first free bike-sharing program in Romania for business people, initiated by Green Revolution Association back in 2010. Since then, thousand of corporate employees in Bucharest and across the country have rented bikes from that green association. They use them during their lunch breaks, for team building activities, outings in the park and even to reach daily appointments. Especially during summer, the racks in front of most office buildings are full of bikes.
In 2013, 10 companies from 4 of Romania’s cities enrolled into the “Black Tie Biking” program. They bought 300 bikes, which have so far benefited over 6 thousand employees. The costs they are supposed to cover range from 300 to 500 Euros per year, for just one bike. The Swedish Embassy was the first diplomatic institution to join the program last autumn. Attending the signing of the partnership agreement, the Swedish Ambassador to Bucharest, Anders Bengtcen, stressed the need for a proper infrastructure in a city where both climate and relief are favourable to cycling.
According to a Eurobarometer published by the European Commission, Sweden ranks top of the charts, after Denmark and Sweden, with regard to the use of bicycles, which is now one of the preferred means of transport in that country.In Romania there are no clear statistics to indicate the number of bicycle users. Authorities say that 9% of the population uses bicycles to travel around the city. NGOs, however, say the percentage is not higher than 3%.
This sport, although healthy and comfortable, continues to cause headaches to Bucharesters, who are still waiting for an effective biking infrastructure. Until then, corporate employees can benefit from the program provided by Green Revolution, as Raluca Fisher, a representative of the association, told us:
“What we offer is not just the possibility to buy a bike, but also to put the company’s logo on it, to provide a positive example showing that the employee riding that bike is actually proud they work for that corporation. Moreover, we ensure maintenance services as well, we have people at their disposal 24 hours a day. So, if there is a problem with your bike or you have a flat tire, call us and we will fix it right away. We also clean them every week, we make sure they are safe, that brakes and lights are functional. We also store them during the winter. So it’s actually a package of services, making it so easy for companies to use bicycles. We take care of the stress, all they have to do is work the pedals. The cities that I like and which are the friendliest to bikers are Brasov and Timisoara, where authorities have invested a lot in infrastructure, and the number of bikers there is quite large.”
Besides “Black Tie Biking”, the Velo 2014 season started in Bucharest and other cities across Romania a month ago. In Bucharest, people can use 400 bikes, which can be found in three rental centres. I’Velo is the most important bike-sharing project in Romania, whose goal is to gradually introduce bicycles in the urban landscape, both for leisure and as an alternative, healthier means of transport, with a minimum impact on the environment.