Agency owner Uwe Weißflog stands exemplary for the enthousiasm that was felt by lots of attendees. According to him, the networking alone had already been worth travelling all the way. If this had been the main issue of the coming together of a sector, one could have left it at organizing a party that worked excellent with the on-board means (namely band member Heiko Müller of Riese und Müller and Frank Stefan Kimmel of Serotta). As the essence of a conference is, however, defined through the contents of its speeches, it had to be judged from this point of view in the first place and came up to its expectations, apart from exceptions.
278 attendees from industry, trade, handcraft, politics and media had registered. Following the opening speeches by the Parliamentary State Secretary Jan Muecke and the president of Deutsche Verkehrswacht Kurt Bodewig the conference offered four speeches for the complete audience, twelve workshops, two panel discussions, the award of the VSF-Ethics Prize as well as a closing communiqué.
The conference initiator, the managing director of VSF, Albert Herresthal, had intenionally decided to divide the topics in two major categories: The competent discussion of content between the sector and politics as well as intra-branch topics. As regards the latter topics, echoes of the former bicycle trade meeting Fahrrad Markt Zukunft in Bremen were still perceivable, whereas the range of topics was not primarily trade oriented.
Topics of the sector: The conflicting priorities of trade and industry
The conflicting priorities of trade and industry concerned issues, such as the brand initiative Ligaplus or the problematics of product testing. With regard to these issues the contents offered was particularly comprehensive, as the concern of all parties was the question of binding standards. In the name of the industrial two-wheel association Siegfried Neuberger gave a summary of the European standardisation, wheras Dirk Zedler gave an outline of standards, tests and test seals.
The panel discussion with regard to the German Foundation for comparative product testing ("Stiftung Warentest") was then the grand final for this range of topics. Such formats always run the risk of coming to an end without tangible result. That’s the cause the moderator Gunnar Fehlau of Pressedienst Fahrrad ("news service bicycle") had taken up to ban the risk with regard to the testing topic. With his tough inquiries to the realms of British politeness he tried to nail jelly to a wall. Whether the German Foundation for comparative product testing ("Stiftung Warentest") were really prepared to disclose their testing criteria.
Years ago, the chief tester of Stiftung Warentest Dr. Holger Brackmann had already skilfully avoided any answer to critical questions on the occasion of a RadMarkt-forum; during the panel discussion he made a statement that justified a new discussion of this topic: He substantiated his promise to disclosure.
For the rest the tester from Berlin remained comparatively undisturbed, as the managing director of the German Cycle Assosiation (ADFC) Horst Hahn-Klöckner was only interested in receiving answers from the industry. As the managing director of Derby, Mathias Seidler, remained rather peaceful with regard to the facts, it was up to the expert Dirk Zedler to force him into a corner by his mere expert knowledge. The negative test results presented by the Foundation would not comply with the actual nature of loss that practice would show. And by virtue of his double function as both tester and expert Zedler knows what he is talking about. For this reason he accused the Foundation of blocking an improvement process, instead of promoting it.
Author: Michael Bollschweiler