(and whether you should attend)
You are a cycling enthusiast. You often trade your car for your bike when it comes to your commute or popping to the shops, and you love the journey; in the summer, that is.
As soon as things become colder, it’s another story. You find yourself riding less due to the increased risk of an accident and the harsh cold weather.
Does this sound familiar?
Unfortunately, this story is far too typical, and a lack of understanding and safety measures in the winter months sees many abandoning their bikes for the warmth and safety of their cars.
Enter the Winter Cycling Congress.
If you’ve never heard of this organization before or you’d like to know more about its mission, this guide is for you. Below, we’ll take a look at what the Winter Cycling Congress is and the initiatives they have in place to encourage year-round cycling.
Read on to find out more.
What is the Winter Cycling Congress?
If you’re not familiar, The Winter Cycling Congress is an event founded and run by the Winter Cycling Federation (WCF). This is an annual event that brings together experts and businesses from around the world to discuss topics about cycling in countries with colder climates.
The WCF itself was founded in 2013 and held the first WCC congress in the same year in Finland. This event clearly highlighted the need for more knowledge about cycling in winter, and so an annual event was born.
The mission and vision of the Winter Cycling Federation are that winter cycling should be for everyone and we should live in a world where year-round cycling is possible, understood, and normalized.
When and where is the congress held?
The location of the congress changes every year, and the event was most recently held in Joensuu, Calgary, and Montreal. However, in recent years, as a result of the pandemic, congress has taken place online. Well, this year, in-person events are back on!
As such, the next congress, which will mark the 10th international Winter Cycling Congress, will be held in Karlstad, Sweden, between the 22nd and 24th of February. The event will be held at Karlstad Congress Culture Center.
What will be discussed during the event?
The theme of this year’s WCC is ‘Winter Biking for Healthy and Sustainable Cities’. With this in mind, some of the key areas of focus will be:
- Changing behaviors to encourage more people to cycle in winter and the best ways to do this
- How cities can be built to facilitate cycling and demand in the future
- Technologies of the future and the best ways to maintain and develop the safety of winter road conditions
- Speakers will be sharing their knowledge, advice, and best practices, as well as finding opportunities for collaboration and meeting like-minded cyclists and friends.
Who will be speaking?
There is always a varied range of guest speakers at the WCC events, coming from different backgrounds, including politics, urban planning, education, academic research, health, environment, and more.
Some of the top guests for the 2023 Winter Cycling Congress are Henk Swarttouw, President of the European Cyclists Federation, Professor Lars Olsson of Karlstad University, and Tomas Stomberg, the inventor of the Carlsbad Brine.
Olympic World Record Holder, Nils van der Poel will also be speaking, as well as Para-Olympic medalists and five-time World Champions in Para-cycling, Anna Beck and Louise Jannering.
Can anyone attend the event?
Anyone can attend the event as long as they register, and applications for the Winter Cycling Congress 2023 are now open for registration to WCF members and non-members.
If you are a WCF member, it is slightly cheaper to attend, but ultimately, anyone can if they register for their place.
You can also apply to be an exhibitor at the event if you have a company, service, or product that is relevant and that you’d like to discuss and share.
WCC bike-friendly initiatives
The Winter Cycling Conference is about more than just listening to speakers and gathering advocates of cycling in one place.
The WCF wants to develop the winter cycling conditions in colder cities, to reinforce the role of cycling as an everyday activity. After all, cycling is a good form of physical activity, a great way to commute, save money and, of course, save the planet.
As such, the WCC has certain initiatives in place alongside the conference to drive their mission forwards. As the new host, the city of Karlstad is already well underway with the preparations, including an innovative new method for de-icing cycling paths that they will be debuting to visitors.
They are also running local campaigns to promote winter cycling through a number of projects, including a winter cycling challenge (utmaningen vintertrampare) where residents can swap their car for their bike and, in return, will be given winter tires for their bikes and other supportive measures they might need.
If that wasn’t enough, visitors can also make use of free sharing bicycles, and the city is working with local businesses to help promote cycling year-round.
Why attend the Winter Cycling Congress
Finally, now you know more about the Winter Cycling Congress, you might be wondering whether this event is for you. Well, there are lots of reasons to attend, but for most, it’s about connecting and collaborating with like-minded cyclists. You can also hear interesting speakers and influencers in this space.
This makes it a great opportunity to learn about winter cycling, the initiatives being put in place (as mentioned above), and how you can bring this newfound knowledge to your local area to implement positive changes.
You might also want to attend if you’re going to exhibit, as we mentioned earlier. This is the perfect way for you to meet with an audience of curious and passionate people who share your interest in winter cycling. You’ll also be able to present your services and products.
Note: If you’re going to take goods, materials or your bike with you to the conference, just be careful that you choose a good shipping provider to ensure they get there in one piece.