Melanie Huml, the Bavarian state secretary in the ministerium of health, handed three ExtraEnergy-sponsored pedelecs to the winners of the ninth annual "With the Bike to Work" campaign in Munich yesterday.
Christian Leonhard from Neukirchen, Willi Hermanns from Bayreuth and Sigrid Möslang from Weitnau each took one of the latest models of the manufacturers Gepida, Diamant and Kalkhoff home.
The models Gepida Reptila 1000, Diamant Zouma Elite E and Kalkhoff Agutta Pedelec F were all awarded the quality seal "Very Good" by ExtraEnergy in its big test in May this year. The Gepida retails for around €1,799, Diamant for around €2,799 and Kalkhoff for around €1,899.
This year pedelec-riders were allowed to participate in the initiative "With the Bike to Work", which ran countrywide between 1 June and 31 August, for the first time. ExtraEnergy is a co-sponsor of the Bavarian leg of the campaign, aimed at getting as many people as possible to leave their cars at home and rather go to work by bike and in that way do something for their own health and for the health of the environment.
At a prize-giving ceremony held in the offices of the Bavarian government's department for health and the environment, Huml said about 60,000 people in 17,000 teams from 5,300 Bavarian companies each rode a minimum of 20 times to and from work in the period between 1 June and 31 August, thereby qualifying for the prize draw. Nationwide about 170,000 people participated in this year's event.
Assuming the 17,000 teams rode on average 20 kilometers per day, in total 24 million kilometers were traveled, said Huml. "Had these kilometers been traveled in cars and not bikes, 3,800 tonnes of CO2, 4,400 kilogram nitrogen oxide and 190 kilogram fine dust particles would have been released into the air. Thanks to the 17,000 teams the environment was saved this contamination" she added.
Other prizes awarded, included a hot air ballon ride for four paid by DHL of the Deutsche Post and a cruise on a 4-star passenger liner in the Mediterranean Sea sponsored by the shipping company MSC Kreuzfahrten.
The 5 partners in the initiative "With the Bike to Work" said they were happy with the public support for the 2009 campaign, but added they hoped to see even more support next year. After making a big jump to 60,000 participants in 2008 (partly due to a strong rise in oil and gasoline prices at the time), the initiative saw no further growth this year.
The partners are the department of health and environment, Germany's bicycle association Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC), the medical fund AOK, trade union Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) and employer association Vereinigung der Bayerischen Wirtschaft).
Hans-Dieter Berg, Bavarian chairman of ADFC, said he hoped to see the numbers of participants rising again in 2010, when the initiative will also celebrate its ten year anniversary.
ExtraEnergy will again be a sponsor in 2010, said Hannes Neupert, president of test authority ExtraEnergy.