Lovers of the human, of bikes and the(ir) environment — that’s the wave and vibe that comes over talking to the initiators of the Cyklo Kuchyňa —the BikeKitchen in Bratislava. It was founded in 2001 with a beautiful intention: bringing together cycling, artistic and culinary aspects. They offer a wide range of activities, from promoting citizen participation, to coming together and engaging in the whole environment of the city.
DIY Peer Learning System.
Once a week, their bicycle repair workshop is open. They provide tools and support from technical assistants in order to encourage people learn how to repair their own bikes. Also experimental modifications are most welcome. Since their opening the BikeKitchen collected together a huge stock of old bicycle and other second hand parts: these are accessible for the bike building and repairing.
When in 2012 the introduction of a bike sharing system of the municipality of Bratislava failed, Cyklokoalicia initiated a community-based bike sharing project. Cyklokoalocia is a non-profit Cycling Coalition and worked in close cooperation with the BikeKitchen. Just as in other cities, it is a system where you pick up a bike on assigned spots that exist throughout the city, and leave it at another one when finished. In order to make it even more accessible to similar initiatives they created an open source software system. Any city could use their program in order to set up a bike sharing system. Their intention was successful: by now other cities in Slovakia took it over and provide access to public bikes. In order to encourage fun and the practicability of bike use in Bratislava, the Cycling Coalition is additionally engaging in improving the bicycle infrastructure of the city.
Moving together through the streets, sharing their love for bikes and demonstrating the necessity of a good working bike route network — that’s what the critical bike mass is expressing every last Friday of the month since 2011. With an >inclusive speed< they bike through the city. They finish with a so-called bike lift: as a sign of their joy and power they lift their bikes above their heads — a beautiful picture.
The love for bikes seems to be very vibrant in this city. It manifests itself in a growing network of different initiatives just as a network of bike infrastructure.