Does your activity involve the creation of electric bicycles or the provision of bicycles (leasing, self-service rental, etc.) and do you want to include it in a circular dimension? Are you determined to offer bicycles with easily repairable parts, to use materials made of recycled elements, or to innovate in the reuse of components (batteries, etc.) at the end of the life cycle? In that case, this call is for you!
As you know, cycling is very popular in Belgium. The COVID-19 lockdown phase has accelerated the trend, especially with the explosion in the sale of electric bicycles, which now account for a market share of 38.6%. This is an important step forward since the bicycle is considered an interesting ecological alternative to the car, especially for short trips, because it produces few greenhouse gases, does not create traffic jams, etc. Yet, even if manufacturing a bicycle requires only a fraction of the material needed to make a car, it requires many resources with potentially damaging implications for the environment and often extracted outside Europe.
In order to reduce the use of these resources and the human and environmental consequences linked to their extraction, one of the ambitions of Belgium's Federal Action Plan for the Promotion of Cycling is to encourage bicycle repair. When this is no longer possible, it is necessary to ensure that the component parts and raw materials can be easily reused or recycled1.
Inspiration for creating circular patterns
Therefore we propose this topic in our first call for projects. To stimulate your creativity and reinforce the circular dimension of bicycles, your project should for example promote:
- The design of new components based on recycled materials and easily repairable + standardisation of parts;
- The repair of the fleet of bicycles already in circulation (and their components) + provision of spare parts;
- Empowerment of the cyclist in equipment maintenance and repair (free access to data and equipment);
- The collection of irreparable bicycles and sorting of their components in order to reintroduce them on the market;
- Innovation in second life for components (batteries, etc.) that cannot be reintroduced as such on the market;
- The emergence of new business models making electric bicycles available to users as a "product-as-a-service";
- Creating links between existing initiatives;
- The development of software to extend and optimise the life cycle of batteries;