CITY CYCLING – Cycling for a better climate

Context of Transport Climate Action

There is great potential to reduce CO2 emissions through climate-friendly modes of transport: for example if 30% of all short-range trips in German inner cities were made by bicycle rather than by car, around 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 could be avoided. On average, however, only 10% of all trips in Germany are made by bike, even though 78% of all Germans own a bicycle.

Climate Alliance is a friend of the German Partnership for Sustainable Mobility (GPSM). The GPSM is a relatively young initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). It serves as a platform, gathering interest in sustainable mobility and logistics solutions from developing and emerging countries and matching this with know-how and concrete offers from Germany, contributing to international cooperation. For more information see


The CITY CYCLING campaign launched in 2008 and organized by Climate Alliance, promotes cycling as a zero-emissions mode of transport and advances awareness of climate change mitigation. CITY CYCLING (in German: STADTRADELN) aims to increase the modal share of cycling by motivating citizens to use their bicycle as an everyday mode of transport. Additionally, CITY CYCLING involves local authorities and decision makers as role models. Cycling is promoted as an active, collective and fun form of climate change mitigation.


Organized as a competition between cities, the campaign takes place every summer: participants ride as much as possible on 21 consecutive days, using bikes for their regular trip to work, shopping and during their spare time. The distance is recorded in an online cycle calendar and awards are conferred to the cyclists and/or teams having cycled the longest distances locally, as well as to the municipalities themselves. The campaign started in 2008 with 23 participating municipalities. 340,522 km were travelled by bike, saving some 68 tonnes CO2. These figures have been increasing ever since.

In addition, councillors or city officials can choose to become so-called CYCLE-STARS, which means switching completely to using their bike for three weeks and blogging about their daily experiences.

Using the integrated RADar! cycling reporting tool participants can identify cycling hindrances and this information is forwarded to the local authorities. CITY CYCLING has proved to be a very good instrument for promoting cycling, and the campaign provides local authorities with a combined communication, planning and citizen participation tool which makes it easy for them to participate.


Impressive results have been achieved in 2015: 341 participating municipalities and around 130,000 cyclists, including almost 2,500 local representatives, rode about 24.8 million km (or the equivalent of 619 times around the equator!) and thus avoided more than 3,500,000 kg (3500 tonnes) CO2 emissions during the month of the campaign.

Potential for scaling up

After every campaign year, Climate Alliance distributes a comprehensive questionnaire amongst the participating local authorities and (potential) new participants, requesting in-depth feedback on implementation in the municipalities. In doing so, the steady development of CITY CYCLING has been maintained, and the program adapted and the needs of the municipalities taken into account.

The potential of the initiative lies in developing the campaign together with all relevant stakeholders year by year. After successfully bringing the campaign to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 2014 (over a third of all municipalities in Luxembourg participated in 2015), further expansion into other countries is also expected.

The program requires support from policy makers and local cycling clubs for it to be successful, but it can easily be replicated in many cities around the . As Climate Alliance is a European network it has been helpful in spreading this campaign regionally.

Selected references

Climate Alliance is the largest network of European cities, municipalities and districts committed to protecting the world’s climate. More information about projects and activities can be found on its website: To learn more about CITY CYCLING, please visit



Participating municipalities in Germany






Germany, MItigation, Cycling, Awareness, Policy, Partnerships


Climate Alliance (Klima-Bündnis)


André Muno Project Manager Tel. +49-69-717139-11

“The ever-growing numbers of both local authorities, municipalities and inhabitants participating since the campaign’s launch back in 2008 are perhaps the best indicators of the need for such a campaign and proof of its successful concept. Besides promoting cycling as such, the unique RADar! reporting platform allows municipalities and their citizens to work together for safe(r) and (more) comfortable cycling infrastructure: the ultimate requirement for getting more people on their bikes more often!” (André Muno, Climate Alliance)