16. November 2022 | Magazine:

TU cycling team races to the top Back in first place with new records

“We were even better than last year”, this summary of this year’s Braunschweig City Cycling is even more true for the team of Technische Universität Braunschweig. In the sixth Braunschweig City Cycling event, 341 TU members cycled 62,648 kilometres in three weeks, which equates to 1.5 times around the world in a climate-friendly manner, and together they made an important contribution to climate protection. The team not only took first place again after last year, but also set several new records. TU Braunschweig also impressed in the individual rankings: Olaf Fechtner, workshop manager at the Institute for High Frequency Technology, and computer science student Lukas Cronauer took second and third place.

Contribution to Climate Protection

The TU Braunschweig team was able to improve considerably on the previous year. After taking 7th place in 2020 with 153 cyclists, the TU team won last year with 39,900 kilometres covered by 224 active cyclists. This year, 343 cyclists in 23 sub-teams set new records with 62,648 kilometres. With their successful participation, the TU Braunschweig team supports the efforts for ecological, social and economic sustainability and sets an example for more climate-friendly mobility, climate protection and quality of life at the university. As a prize, the city of Braunschweig provides all TU team members with a voucher for the Christmas market and a 100 euro voucher for the self-help workshop of the AStA.

Great team and individual performances in the city cycling competition. f. l. Susanne Frühling, Lukas Cronauer, Olaf Fechtner and Sándor Fekete. Photo credit: Fechtner/TU Braunschweig

“Congratulations and many thanks to all those who participated in the campaign with great dedication. Together, the many cyclists have made a great contribution to climate protection and supported us in our sustainability goals. Every kilometre cycled instead of driven by car contributes to this goal. The large number of participants this year is also an incentive for even more sustainable mobility at TU Braunschweig,” says TU President Prof. Angela Ittel, pleased with the team’s success.

Be it an extreme bikepacking tour or the daily ride to university

The team members who took part in the award ceremony, which took place in the Haus der Kulturen, report on the many good reasons for cycling and taking part in the competition. For Olaf Fechtner from the Institute for High-Frequency Technology, the focus is on the athletic challenge and sustainability. He took second place in the overall individual ranking with 1,843 kilometres. “I’ve been doing sports almost all my life and have been cycling races since I was a child. I also took part in triathlon competitions and MTB races. These days, at the age of 58, I take it a bit easier.” But Olaf Fechtner is not completely without ambition. “I have become interested in bikepacking races. These are very long distances on time and without outside help. We usually sleep outside during the race and the luggage is kept to a minimum. The distance of the races I take part in varies from 500 to 1,600 kilometres. My longest distance in one go was 500 kilometres once with 15 minutes of power napping on a park bench. But I also like to travel by bike without time pressure. This year I cycled from Basel to Cap Arkona on the island of Rügen. I was able to claim part of the tour for City Cycling.”

But sustainability also plays a big role in cycling for him: “Our whole family tries to live sustainably. That includes a lot of cycling, also on holiday, and taking the train when possible. We only use the car when there is no other way. I exclusively cycle to work.”

As a tip to get even more students and employees interested in cycling, he advises: “Just try it out to realise how much fun it is. No stress in traffic and lots of fresh air. The Ringgleis is a great place to ride well away from cars. It feels incredibly good to do some exercise in the morning.”

Strong Team Spirit

The team spirit was an additional motivation for computer science student Lukas Cronauer, who came third in the city of Braunschweig’s individual ranking with 1,836 kilometres. He had heard about this year’s City Cycling via the mailing list of his degree programme. As he had planned a longer bike tour during the non-lecture period, he thought it would be good to support the TU team with the kilometres he had cycled. “In everyday life, I also use the bike a lot, because it’s faster than the other means of transport in the city and more fun. Besides, with the bike you can usually park right in front of the entrance.”

Electrical engineering student Susanne Frühling cycled the most kilometres of all TU participants with 1,009 kilometres: “For me, cycling is the ideal balance to my studies. It helps me to clear my head after a day at my desk. I use my bike not only in everyday life and for day trips, but also for cycling holidays lasting several days. This way of travelling allows you to get a much deeper insight into the region you are travelling in.”

For the captain of the TU team, Professor Sándor Fekete, from the Institute of Operating Systems and Computer Networks, the team spirit is the main focus besides sustainable mobility. “At universities, it is important to give talented people who are willing to put in the effort the opportunity to achieve more together than alone. That’s what makes cycling and especially City Cycling so valuable: it’s not about mental but physical effort, completely without formal hierarchies or external requirements – and it’s clear that while individuals can contribute special achievements, only the whole team can progress beyond all boundaries. So I am very pleased that we were able to attract so many active participants this year. I am sure that in the coming months we will not only be able to show symbolically that one can also go far on one’s own strength, but also gain further joint energy and team spirit from the momentum of togetherness!”

Braunschweig in 3rd place statewide

City Cycling is a nationwide campaign for better air, fewer cars, more fitness and climate protection. In Braunschweig, the competition, which took place from 4 to 24 September, set two new records with 8,185 participants and 1,332,200 kilometres cycled. In total, 205 tonnes of CO2 were avoided compared to the car. Braunschweig took 3rd place in Lower Saxony and 24th place in Germany out of 2,472 participating municipalities.