Anna Luten is here at Eurobike as the brand manager for Giant’s Liv brand in Benelux, but away from the show she’s also the Bicycle Mayor of Amsterdam, a newly created post connecting city hall and people on bikes. The initiative was created by Amsterdam-based CycleSpace, a non-profit NGO partly funded by the city government. Luten was elected to her independent position by representatives from the city’s transit authorities, cycling groups and the University of Amsterdam’s cycling professor, Marco te Brömmelstroet.
“When I saw the job description for Bicycle Mayor I knew that was me,” Luten said from Giant’s stand at the Friedrichshafen show.
“It was an open competition. I had to create a short movie as a pitch, and then present to a jury in front of an audience.”
Luten’s role started in June, and she has signed up for a year.
The role was inspired by Amsterdam’s nachtburgemeester, or “night mayor”, an independent but city-funded program created in 2014 and which aims to grow the city’s night-time economy by smoothing problems and suggesting solutions.
Luten has been with Giant for two years having previously worked for Nike.
“I love my job! I love riding bikes. It’s a really cool industry to work in.”
Her bosses at Giant have been supportive of her new role.
“The global Liv team didn’t know what to make of it at first. They just saw articles about the role in Dutch, but now there are articles appearing in English all over the world, and they think it’s something positive; they’re really happy for me.”
She adds: “The new role helps me in my day job, too. It helps with new insights. I don’t mind living and breathing cycling, although my boyfriend must hate me because I’m always obsessing about bicycles; I never turn off.”
CycleSpace has global ambitions for its Bicycle Mayor program.
“We plan to inaugurate Bicycle Mayors in cities as diverse as Beijing, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Cape Town and Warsaw,” said CycleSpace co-founder Roos Stallinga. The NGO describes itself as a “city cycling catalyst” and is seeking public subsidies and corporate sponsorships for the roll-out of its Bicycle Mayor program worldwide.