Aachen's Lord Mayor Sibylle Keupen supports 3RIDES 2023 with her city - and talks about her anticipation of Europe's most diverse cycling event in an interview
Madam Mayor, the 3RIDES is taking place in Aachen for the second time this year. What motivates your city to support the event? Why is the event particularly well suited to Aachen?
Aachen is a bicycle city. We are very diligent in expanding and improving the bike infrastructure. Here we are bringing Aachen into the future as a modern transport city. Everyday mobility on a bicycle is important for us, and there is also a tradition of racing bikes - for example, with the "Rund um Dom und Rathaus" race. We have a lot of active people in cycling clubs, which is why this sport is written in our land register next to equestrian sports. We are happy and support the 3RIDES because it gives this topic a public platform.
The 3RIDES aims to be Europe's most diverse cycling event. A good plan?
Yes, I think it's nice that diversity comes together here on the bike. There's the Bike Expo, the festival and the race that draws international attention to us. It shows us that the bicycle is not only a means of transport, but opens many other possibilities. We love to be there for the fun of cycling and the celebration of cycling culture.
What is your favorite aspect of the multifaceted topic of bicycles?
My little pedelec, which is here in the city hall and with which I whiz to my city appointments. The small tires roll wonderfully fast and I am flexible. I love this form of mobility because it is fun and close to the people of this city. What's more, the pedelec drive helps me to tackle the climbs here in Aachen easily and without beads of sweat on my forehead.
The 3RIDES brings a premiere: For the first time there is a qualifying race for the Gravel World Championship in Germany, in a still young, booming cycling discipline. What does that mean for you?
That's great. We're going straight from the starting gate to the Champions League, so to speak. That suits Aachen. We like to be first in the alphabet and at the top of the rankings. Aachen stands for innovative concepts, and so this new race in the course of the 3RIDES also suits us. Aachen has a lot of confidence as a city, the universities bring a lot of innovation to our city - so this race fits very well and is a welcome example of our attitude. A competition like this, which has global relevance, is great cinema.
When you drop by the CHIO grounds in May for the 3RIDES, what are you looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to biking there and acting out my curiosity. I find it super exciting to watch the new sport, which is gravel racing. It combines everything you can conquer by bike in one race - from steep slopes on gravel to asphalt. This will be an eye-catcher. But I'm also looking forward to walking around the festival grounds and seeing what's new in bicycles. I also want to celebrate cycling with the enthusiastic cycling community. My green pedelec will definitely feel at home there.