May 22, 2024

Business trip with a bike – Travelling abroad with “Green Travel” by Erasmus+

By Andrea Weber Tuckermann, Deputy Head of Office, & Daniela Stang, Online editor, Press and Public Relations Ulm University.

Sustainable travel on a business trip abroad: this is possible with the “Green Travel” programme, which is supported by the EU via Erasmus+. Ulm University employee Jan Forkel tried it out last year. The technology-enthusiastic social scientist, who was coordinating the introduction of a new digital platform for student management at the time, travelled to a “community event” organised by the system provider in June. The meeting was to take place in Vienna, around 600 kilometres away. Jan Forkel travelled 320 km – the distance from Passau to the Austrian capital – by bike in four days, taking the train for the first 280 km. Jan reported on his journey every day on Ulm University’s Instagram account. “As it was difficult to film or photograph myself, I often got talking to other cyclists travelling through: They included Germans, Austrians and Dutch people. These chance encounters characterised my journey. You cycle together for a while and swap stories. I had the feeling of being part of a large community or community of solidarity,” says Forkel.

The passionate cyclist followed the course of the Danube most of the time. He passed picturesque stretches along natural riverbanks lined with meadows and forests, battled his way through the beautiful Wachau valley in pouring rain and also crossed the odd industrial area along canalised sections of the river. In the Austrian Danube towns of Linz, Krems and Tulln, his bike came to a halt in front of many a cultural and historical sight. Along the way, he was very impressed by a colourfully painted refugee boat from Tenerife, which was displayed on the Danube embankment near Ottensheim – a memorial and work of art at the same time. “The borders in Europe are open for me. For many, this dream remains unfulfilled. While I cycle down the Danube and cross borders, others are stopped at the borders,” says Forkel. After his arrival in Vienna, the cyclist from Ulm had a full conference programme to complete. He used his free time to explore the city of Vienna by bike.

 “The Erasmus+ Green Travel programme is a great opportunity to get to know the country and its people better, even on business trips, and to broaden your horizons in addition to attending a conference or training course. You can save energy, reduce emissions and promote your work-life balance,” says Forkel, who then travelled back to Ulm by train. The Erasmus+ programme for sustainable travel promotes longer journeys by sustainable means of transport; this includes bus, train and bike, but also carpooling. The extended travelling time counts as working time and is compensated with a daily allowance.

Photocredit: © Jan Forkel

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