Saturday, 31 December 2011

Oil company provides bike aid stations

Photo: Mads Odgaard
Suffolk Bike Aid learned from the cycling blog of a pilot scheme by Norway's Statoil that provides facilities for cyclists to fix their bicycles at five petrol stations in Copenhagen, a city where 55% of the residents cycle every day. The sign says:

"Dear Cyclist,
You can care for your bicycle here. You can pump and wash your bicycle and, inside the shop, you're welcome to borrow a free bicycle care kit with oil, tire levers, allen keys, etc.

The pilot stations in the Copenhagen area are: 

  • Sydhavns Plads 10, 2450 København SV
  • Godthåbsvej 144, 2000 Frederiksberg C
  • H.C. Ørstedsvej 25 - 27, 1879 Frederiksberg C
  • Valby Langgade 119, 2500 Valby
  • Kongevejen 205, 2830 Virum
Statoil would like to know where to put the next 'bike care' stations. Send them an email at

Statoil don't operate any UK petrol stations but are a huge natural gas supplier to the UK and are presently developing the Sheringham Shoal wind farm 17 km off the coast of Norfolk.

While Statoil should be applauded for this bold innovation, Bike Aid demonstrates that there's no need for cyclists to wait for capital investment by PR-hungry polluters. For every petrol station to stock a puncture repair kit, provide air and loan tools for the use of cyclists it would cost about £2 per site. 

Bike Aid notes that there is growing unease in Norway for Statoil's sponsorship of the arts. The education / arts / activism organsiation Platform recently said on their blog:

"...extraction-hungry oil and gas companies use sponsorship to purchase a central position at the core of social development and cultural growth, to enhance their reputation and cover up their dirty practices elsewhere. The cultural sector has been mostly been compliant, but this has to change. 
...These companies have massive amounts of money at their disposal, and the “generous” amounts they offer the cultural sector through sponsorship are mere trifles as far as their own accounts are concerned. For the cultural sector, on the other hand, these amounts are enormous, and we see an enormous amount of hesitation of speaking out for fear of losing the economic support. 
Sponsorship thereby becomes more than just a cheap marketing strategy; not only do they greenwash the unethical practices of these companies, they also place a significant proportion of our creative and resourceful young people in a position of gratitude and servility to the oil companies, purchasing a place at the heart of our culture, education and sports."
Therefore we think evidence of their commitment to change their practice by supporting cycling facilities would be more welcome. This incidentally is why Bike Aid does not seek any funding from anyone, though it welcomes any from those prepared to give. We don't ever want to fear speaking out against any kind of sponsor should we feel the need to do so.

No comments:

Post a comment