The Cycling Embassy of Ghent: inclusive, innovative and circular

Every day, the employees of the Cycling Embassy of Ghent tinker with a vibrant cycling culture in Ghent. They do so with a wide range of services, an inclusive HR policy and a circular approach. Pieter, coordinator bicycle parkings, explains how this happens in practice.

Recup workplace: from bicycle wreck to second-hand bicycle

Pieter: We encourage people to leave their bicycle wreck in a "bicycle wreck area". That's a place where you can deposit your old bike for free. We have several bicycle wreck places, including in the bicycle parking at Ghent-Sint-Pieters Railway Station and in the parking lot of HOGENT. We pick up the bike wrecks and bring them to our recovery workplace where our bike repairers work on them.

1. Usable bikes are reconditioned. Then we sells them second hand with 1 year warranty.

2. Bicycles that are beyond repair are recuperated from usable parts.

3. Bicycles that are too good to throw away, but still need a lot of work, go to thrift stores and bicycle workshops.

Pieter: Soon we will do a pilot project where, in cooperation with waste management company IVAGO, we will collect bicycle wrecks at home. We also collect abandoned 'orphan bikes' in the streets of Ghent and bring them to our Bicycle Depot. People are given 3 months to collect their bikes there. If they don't come around, those bikes also go to the recuperation workplace. At the Bicycle Depot, we regularly sell used bikes and recovered parts. This is how we give people access to an affordable bicycle. Those who are struggling financially can buy a used bike from us at social rates.

An opportunity for all, with social employment

Pieter: About half of our employees are socially employed. People who find it difficult to find work in the regular labor market get a feasible and meaningful job with us. In our training center Bidon, we teach new employees the necessary skills. We focus both on developing technical skills and learning the attitudes required to perform the job well. This provides benefits for both employees and the circular bicycle economy. For example, our bicycle repairers convert discarded bicycles into decent second-hand bikes. The result? They hone their technical and social skills, and we can offer quality second-hand bikes and provide an answer to transportation poverty.

Broad, accessible service

Pieter: Besides the Bike Depot, we have 4 Bike Points where anyone can go to rent a bike or have it repaired. You can also inflate your tires for free with compressed air and buy recup accessories. We have wide opening hours and work without appointment, so that we are as accessible as possible to everyone. We also take every kind of cyclist into account when managing bike parking. In addition to regular bike parking, we provide ample space for outsized bikes, such as cargo bikes and longtail bikes.

Keep innovating

Pieter: We are committed to innovative projects and are constantly looking for new opportunities to do circular business. For example, we are systematically upcycling our old bike fleet together with circular e-bike builder Mo-Cyclette. We keep tinkering with an inclusive, innovative and circular Ghent cycling culture every day!

Last modified
Thu 20 Jun 2024