Non-governmental organization of cyclists “VeloGrodno”
The NGO “VeloGrodno” represents the cycling community of Grodno and the Grodno region. The members of the organization are cyclists connected by the common aspiration to strengthen bicycle movement and to promote bicycle as an eco-friendly vehicle and a way to an active and healthy lifestyle.
The organization maintains ongoing communication with the local authorities in order to make the road network more bicycle-friendly, to create a barrier-free environment and to develop bicycle infrastructurein Grodno.
Since the launch of the awareness campaign “Ensure yourself a parking-lot!” the number of bicycle parking-lots in Grodno has increased from 12 to 185.
About 800 cyclists per year take part in annual bicycle rides organized by “VeloGrodno”.
“VeloGrodno” annually holds the marathon “Susedzi” (Neighbours), the cross-country “Tri Versty” (Three Versts) for cycling lovers as well as many other events that attract more than one thousand people every year.
The participants of the “VeloGrodno” sports team, which consists of the members of the organization, place high at sport events for amateurs, including the Polish marathon “Maratony Kresowe”.
All the current information on cycling in Grodno such as news, announcements and reports can be found on our website velogrodno.by.
Anyone who would like to be part of the active bicycle movement can not only become a member of our organization or take part in our events, but also become a volunteer or a coordinator. If you feel like joining us you can call us at +375 33 600 02 30 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The legal status of “VeloGrodno” does not allow the pursuit of business activities or profit-making. Therefore, in order to cover administrative and event-connected expenses we need your financial support (ONLY RESIDENTS OF BELARUS):
Beneficiary: NGO “Velo-Grodno”
Beneficiary’s bank name: OAO “Bank BelVEB”, Minsk, code 226
Beneficiary’s account: 3135140736010
Purpose of payment: Voluntary donation from ___ (last name, name)
Since 2014 the NGO “VeloGrodno” is a member of the partnership of environmental organizations “Green Network”, since March 2016 it is a part of the Social Coordinating Ecological Council under the Grodno Regional Committee of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
What will the cyclists of Grodno remember about 2016
The biggest event was as usual the marathon “Susedzi” (Neighbours). It gathered over 700 participants and hundreds of guests. Moreover, we had over 80 volunteers! We invite you to join our wonderful organizing committee next year.
The team of VeloGrodno showed great results at the Polish marathon Maratony Kresowe and placed high at the MTB Cup “Three Versts”. Some of our team members also took part in the international bicycle parade Grodno – Druskininkai where they also became one of the prizewinners.
We investigated how the things in professional cycle sport are going on and discovered a lot of problems connected with funding, as well as with the motivation of trainers.
It is in our plans for 2017 to develop our sport team and to help to organize sports competitions in other regions.
Barrier-free environment and cycling infrastructure
In 2016 it was the first time for us to have a ride around the city with our mayor and his team, in order to estimate the state of the barrier-free environment in our city. It is pleasant to see that on the route we have chosen the street curbs are becoming lower. In order to be able to monitor changes we created a list of the worst street curbs in the city. We believe that the outcomes will be positive, since Viacheslav Goy, our current mayor, doesn’t consider infrastructure development to be a difficult task.
Also, we wrote many appeals concerning the cycling infrastructure development. For example, we appealed that the rolling draw bridge is too narrow for the simultaneous movement of pedestrians and cyclists . In addition, we underlined the importance of the planning of future cycle tracks and other cycling infrastructure when designing a new city district.
Altogether we managed to stop the decision of the Road Safety Unit to forbid the movement on bicycles on one of the sides of the Old Bridge.
To inform everyone who has been experiencing troubles with the protection of their rights as a cyclist (and not only) we wrote an article where we describe the steps of creating and sending an appeal. Anyone, who has been experiencing any cycling-connected inconveniences, may use our template of an appeal available through this link.
By the way, this year we have counted already 200 parking lots! Despite the convictions (and formal excuses) of many proprietors, it is not that difficult to get approval for installing a parking lot.
The most unusual event of the past year was the participation of the active members of the bicycle movement in the parade of Father Frosts and Snegurochkas.
By the way, there are more and more people who cycle also in winter. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years we will organize bicycle rides in winter.
As usually, we held rides dedicated to the new cycling season opening and the Car-Free Day. But the highlight of the year definitely was definitely the Child ride, in which 74 children under 6 years old took part.
Having addressed the safety issue we learned, that more than 70% of cyclists ride during the night without being marked in any way.
News of the Region
In 2016 we learned more about the life of the active cyclists in the region. We visited an enthusiast from Slonim Viacheslav Adasik, who activily promotes the bicycle movement in Slonim. We also had some more interesting meetings with the activists and the representatives of the District Executive Committee in Krasnaselsky, Navahrudak and Lida.
By the way, in 2016 a new free bicycle-repair shop “Velokitchen” opened in Grodno. Also, there appeared a large-scale bicycle rental, which significantly contributed to the scanty bicycle fleet in Grodno.
History of the bicycle
The history of the bicycle movement in Belarus has always been interesting for us. That’s why we keep on collecting information on the topic “When and why did Belarusians get to like the bicycle?”
In our group on VKontakte there is an album, where we placed all the pictures about the history of the bicycle factory “Niemen”.
The management of the organization has also become better. Now we have an accountant and a young legal adviser in our organization.
For the first time the NGO “VeloGrodno” took part in the call for project proposals and since September 2016 is carrying out a project on organizational development with the support of the “Empowerment of common initiatives” program which is implemented with the support of the Eurasia Foundation by the financial aid of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
What will the cyclists of Grodno remember about 2014
The year 2014 was rich in events but it was also very important in terms of planning and infrastructure development.
The cycling season in Grodno was opened by a city ride on April 19. In the event organized by the NGO “VeloGrodno” participated more than 300 cyclists. The cycling season opening traditionally gathers cyclists of all ages united by the passion for the ecologically friendly and economical means of transport.
During the event Alexandr Kirey traditionally organized a charitable action “Angel in your heart” in order to support children who need expensive operations and postoperative care. Together we collected 1.439.650 Belarusian rubles.
On June 19 with the help of 50 volunteers we organized the 4th amateur cycle marathon “Susedzi” (Neighbours). The total number of participants comprised 690 people. Apart of this the VeloGrodno team participated in the marathons “Naliboki” and “Maratony Kresowe”.
On 11 July Grodno was the finishing point of the second international bike race “Europe without borders” which took 1100 km (Brest-Poland-Russia-Lithuania-Grodno). On July 24 and 25 the Belarusian part of the international multi-day cycling race “Grodno-Bialystok”took place . The sports grounds for competitions are situated in the forest-park Pyshki in Folush district, and also on the border area near villages Sofijevo and Bahatyri.
The race courses for the cross-country “ThreeVersts” were laid many years ago through the forest and parks of Grodno and the Grodno region. The organizers of the event are still Alexandr Karpuk and Sergey Nikulin. This year there were 7 legs.
One of the memorable events was also the international Brest cycling festival “Brest 955”. It gathered about 1500 cyclist from all over Belarus. Prizes and certificates were awarded to the maximal mileage, the oldest and the youngest participant, sports families and participants with disabilities.
Within the “Mobility Week” Grodno was visited by Bartosz Skoroszewski, a polish expert on cycling infrastructure creation, the member of the Polish association «Miasta dla Rowerow». He met with the cyclists of Grodno, as well as with the representatives of the executive committee of Grodno. The aim of the meeting was to state the existing problems, to show on examples various ways of creating cycle tracks and how to get them implemented.
There was one more guest in our organization. One of the creators of the brochure “The cyclist’s helper”, Mikhail Volchek, visited Grodno to make a presentation about it. The cyclist’s helper is a handbook with useful information on traffic laws, the rights and obligations of a cyclist.
In July this year Vladimir Deshko suggested thinking about the development of the regional integrated programme “The Bicycle”. The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Department of Physical Education, Sport and Tourism of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee were entrusted to develop a project of the ways of the development of the bicycle movement and tourist routes in Grodno and regional centers with the stages of its implementation.
It is a very important step in the infrastructure development, since the actions taken before turned out to be not in agreement. For example, the newly marked cycle tracks were not recognized as such by the Grodno Road Safety Unit.
Two Grodno schools took medal places in the contest “The business-like bicycle”, which was held between organizations of Minsk and Grodno. The eligible organizations were the ones of various forms of ownership whose board supports the employees who ride a bicycle, and creates comfortable conditions and cycling infrastructure.
With the support of the United Nations Development Programme the long awaited 30 kilometer-long route 412 “Melovyje Gory” (Chalk Hills) was finally opened in Grodno. Part of the route goes through the forest-park Pyshki on the 5.15 kilometer-long relief cycle track. The new cycling route for tourists “Rajhorad” which will connect Grodno and Druskininkaj will soon be available. The Belarusian part will begin with Festivalnaya street in Grodno and end at the checkpoint “Privalka”. On the other side of the border begins the Lithuanian part of the route. At the beginning of 2015 after the “inspection” of the route cyclists send some recommendations to the Republican Tourist and Sports Union of Grodno on its improvement.
2014 will also be remembered by the fact that VeloGrodno joined the partnership “Green Aliance” which connects ecological organizations, activists and experts of Belarus. The year before the cycling community of Minsk also joined the partnership.
The NGO “VeloGrodno” prepared a list of recommendations and suggestions on the transport system development, in particular, on the cycling infrastructure. They will be included to the local agenda of the sustainable development of the Grodno region 2014 which is being developed within the project of international technical support “Support to regional and local development in Belarus”. It is alleged that Grodno City Executive Committee took part in the third stage of the project and applied the project proposal “Conceptions of the bicycle movement development in Grodno”. In the middle of 2015 it will be known whether the European Commission is going to support this project.
We would also like to recall a pleasant event in young Maksim’s life. His parents gave him a handcycle as a present.
What will the cyclists of Grodno remember about the year 2013
2013 year the ride along Grodno routes was hasteless, without humps and bumps. Still, behind this visible serenity the twists and turns we experienced in 2013 should not be forgotten.
In March — April we took part in the competition “Be in the Third!” organized by the NGO “Centre for informational support of public initiatives “The Third sector”. The medal places were taken by the Forum of Bicycle Activists of Belarus and the campaign “Ensure yourself a parking-lot”, which was conducted in 2012. (Continue reading…)
On May 10 we opened the cycling season of 2013 with a bicycle ride. The number of participants reached 300. (Continue reading…)
On July 20 one of the most difficult events took place. It was the third international cycle marathon “Susedzi” (Neighbours). This time we managed to organize the event for almost 500 participants. (Continue reading…)
On 11 August girls gathered for the “Lady Ride” and showed that cycling is not only about sport, but also about beauty and style J (Continue reading…)
In August, we organized a competition within the campaign “Ensure yourself a parking-lot”. Thanks to the winner and other participants we found out that in the past year the number of parking lots had tripled. (Continue reading…)
In August our cyclists took part for the first time in the designing of the new city cycle route. All the comments, remarks and suggestions regarding the future cycle route “Melovyje Gory” (Chalk Hills) were taken into consideration immediately during the design stage. (See pictures…)
June and August united the cyclists of Grodno and Minsk (veloby.net). Cyclovisits have already become an annual tradition. (See pictures…)
August and September will be remembered by the fact, that road markings for bicycles started to appear in Grodno. It is still a mystery whether it was the result of our actions (such as “The Critical Mass”, “Street Curb Friday”), since it was a surprise for us, as well as for all the citizens of Grodno. (Continue reading…)
On September 14, the activists of VeloGrodno took part in the international action for litter collection “Let’s do it!”. Nothing non-cycling is alien to us!
The Car-Free Day on September 22 was not easy to organize this year, but it wasn’t like the ones before. (Continue reading…)
On September 17 the bicycle parking-lot map designed by VeloGrodno became available for the cyclists of Lida.
On September 21 in cooperation with veloby.net we organized a mutual ride to the firework festival in Vawkavysk. The ride went through picturesque historical places and the Krasnaselsk Openpit Mines. (See pictures…)
October 2 was a special day. It was the birthday of the non-governmental organization of cyclists “VeloGrodno”. Exactly on this day our organization was registered. Before this we prepared all the necessary documents, held the foundation meeting and chose the Board and the President of the Board. The latter positions were taken by active members of the initiative group VeloGrodno.
On October 11 we went on an expedition to the Grodno Zoo in search of a place for a bicycle parking lot. (Continue reading…)
In April – October for the fifth time in a row we held the annual Cross-Country Grodno Cup “Three Versts”. In 2014 the races were included in the plan of official events of the city and the region.
During the year we had a few common rides through the city and beyond its borders. But even at the coldest times there is a reason for the tight-knit cyclers to gather together and have a good time. This time, on December 12, we got familiar with board games. (See pictures…)
A translation prepared with the support of the “Empowerment of common initiatives” program which is implemented with the support of the Eurasia Foundation by the financial aid of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).