VW announces two-year partnership with Bikes Belong

2011 was a good year for VW – the best since 2002 – said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, and this gives the company a license to think outside the car. Thus, at the Washington Auto Show, Volkswagen announced support for another type of pedal power: for the next two years, VW will sponsor Bikes Belong, a national organization that works to get more people on more bikes more often, as part of the automaker's expanding Think Blue campaign, which was launched in the U.S. last May. In D.C., Browning said that the Think Blue initiative is about "delivering sustainable mobility on all fronts," and that now includes two-wheeled, human-powered bicycles. It should go without saying, but the benefits of biking include reducing traffic congestion while improving health and lowering travel's impact on the environment. It's good to see VW embracing this alternative in a real way. Previously, VW showed off the bik.e, a foldable bike concept that fits into a spare wheel well.

VW's Bikes Belong sponsorship will include these three major areas:
  • Peopleforbikes.org: A way to get people to publicly promote bike riding. The goal is to get a million riders together to "urge policy makers to endorse cost-effective legislation that improves bike paths, lanes and trails nationwide."
  • Safe Routes to School National Partnership: Sort of a "hey, let's have kids walk and bike to school" program. Also known as being sensible.
  • Bicycling Design Best Practices: An effort to "create more bike-friendly communities across the United States by helping cities adapt the world's best bike facility models, policies and state-of-the-art designs."
Browning called the sponsorship, "a perfect example of our Think Blue initiative," and Bruno Maier, vice president of Bikes Belong said that VW "complements our mission." The automaker "understands that when people ride bikes, great things happen," he said.
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New two-year sponsorship will support key bicycling projects as part of Volkswagen's Think Blue.® initiative to promote sustainable mobility and environmentally conscious lifestyles

Herndon, Va., January 26, 2012― At the Washington Auto Show today, Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) and the Bikes Belong Foundation, the nation's leading advocacy organization for biking, announced a new two-year partnership to help develop biking-friendly communities, foster healthy lifestyles and create a cleaner environment. VWoA will donate vehicles and funding to support three core Bikes Belong advocacy and urban planning initiatives: Peopleforbikes.org, Safe Routes to School National Partnership (SRTSNP) and Bicycling Design Best Practices.

"Volkswagen's commitment to environmental sustainability extends beyond our fuel-efficient vehicles and company practices," said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "We are extremely proud to be partnering with Bikes Belong to encourage biking and ensure that people of all ages can safely share the road, saving fuel and reducing pollution and traffic congestion."

The sponsorship is part of Volkswagen's Think Blue.® initiative, which encompasses all of the company's efforts to promote eco-friendly mobility and encourage environmentally conscious behavior. The Bikes Belong Foundation partnership also aligns with Volkswagen's long-term commitment to encourage active lifestyles by endorsing cycling, running and triathlon events.
"We are thrilled to have a strong partner in Volkswagen, an innovative, forward-thinking automotive company that shares our commitment to sustainable mobility," said Bruno Maier, vice president, Bikes Belong. "We are looking forward to this joint venture to help create safer roads for all people and help raise awareness of bicycling as a viable, eco-friendly mode of transportation."
The partnership between Volkswagen and the Bikes Belong Foundation focuses on improving bicycling through advocacy, urban planning and strategic design across the three primary programs:

· Peopleforbikes.org: Launched in 2010, Peopleforbikes.org is a movement to unite one million bicyclists of all riding abilities to urge policy makers to endorse cost-effective legislation that improves bike paths, lanes and trails nationwide. VWoA will provide four vehicles for a nationwide "road campaign" to encourage Americans to sign this pledge in support of bicycling and healthy lifestyles.
· Safe Routes to School National Partnership (SRTSNP): VWoA's funding will help bolster efforts to create safe opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school, while also tackling critical issues related to health, traffic congestion, public safety and the environment.
· Bicycling Design Best Practices: The program aims to create more bike-friendly communities across the United States by helping cities adapt the world's best bike facility models, policies and state-of-the-art designs. VWoA will sponsor workshops and study tours to help implement proven projects that enhance the bicycling experience.
To learn more, visit www.bikesbelong.org/foundation. For further information about Volkswagen's Think Blue.® campaign, go to www.vw.com/thinkblue.

About Bikes Belong Foundation
Formed in 2006, the Colorado-based Bikes Belong Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on improving bicycle safety and enhancing children's bike programs. The Foundation administers the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, supports the Bicycle Design Best Practices Project and directs the Peopleforbikes.org campaign.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.

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