Friday, August 21, 2015

Mannheim powers through

I have been rude about Mannheim in the past and its relationship to cyclists, but some thing that has impressed me is the "Mannheim gibt Kette" app (, part of a programme to encourage people to cycle to work. Just about every national cycling club and health insurance organisation has a programme of this type, offering the chance of winning small prizes for cycling to work. The Mannheim app for the inhabitants of MA and the employees of the city council sums the distance cycled each day and propels one on a virtual journey along the Iron Curtain Trail from Kirkenes, Norway to Carevo, Bulgaria, offering tourist and geographical information and photographs of the areas covered. There are chances underway to answer questions to double one's daily kilometres for five days. The app is well designed. It is written by "GEVIO - Gesundheit und Prävention", 67256 Weisenheim, Germany ( A company that offers packages of measures to improve employees' health. Unfortunately the information on the web is in German but an email to the company's contact address: will bring information in English.
We have cheated, although we live just over the border in the small Hesse town of Viernheim and no longer work, we joined the game just to see how it functions. In our case we are largely not replacing car journeys by bike journeys, but trips by public transport and on foot. If we win anything we will come clean and send the gift back. The main prize is a trip to Amsterdam. Whether we will achieve the twenty days cycling necessary to be entered in the lottery for the big prize is debatable anyway.
Does it work? Yes! Since we have joined we have tried to cycle about 18 or 19km through the local woods on every day we can. Other teams have finished and we are still virtually cycling through the Finnish woods and actually cycling in Viernheim. Will we make Latvia before the cutoff date? We will do our very best.

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