As CIE celebrates its fifth anniversary, we sat down with one of CIE's Founding Members, Jochum Kirsebom, CEO of Reelight.
1. Can you give us a brief description of Reelight?
I founded Reelight in 2003 relying on a patented technology for induction driven bicycle lights. The vision behind the induction driven lights is two-fold. Firstly, by increasing the convenience for the user, by completely removing the need for individuals to remember or maintain their bicycle lights, we aim to make cycling both safer and more accessible. Secondly, by producing a product that does not rely on batteries and will last at least for the lifetime of the bicycle they are mounted on, and in the majority of cases much longer. We hope to reduce the consumption of ineffective lights that are often discarded after far too few uses. Reelight is an OEM business and sells primarily B2B and has had great success so far.
2. What cycling trends are you most excited to see by the year 2030? And by 2050?
The evolution of the cargo bike market and the increasing adoption of cargo bikes by companies into their delivery chain has been a point of interest for me for a long time. I think we have finally gotten to a place where with the development of electric engines and improvements in battery capacity, transportation of goods by bike is beginning to seem a viable alternative to the traditional sprinter vans for last mile deliveries. I am excited to see how the market develops and whether businesses are quick to adapt and so hopefully when 2030 comes along there will be a great many cargo bikes cycling around the cities of Europe delivering groceries or packages. Perhaps even acting as the primary transportation for an electrician who finds it easier to get around the city on bike.
By 2050 I hope to see more initiatives limiting the number of cars allowed in cities, particularly in densely populated areas and city centers. This then would mean entire areas of large cities would be accessible only by bike or public transportation and though I don’t believe it is a certain thing I certainly hope it will happen.
3. What do you see as a major challenge in the cycling industry, and how can CIE play a role in overcoming that challenge?
The greatest challenge to the industry is the issue of fragmentation within the market and the resulting inconsistency in quality, legislation and regulation. With the majority of manufacturers sourcing parts from the same suppliers, but doing so on an individual basis, there is not sufficient leverage or incentive to increase the quality of those standardized parts. Likewise lack of a coordinated effort from the industry could lead to a failure of informed decision making by legislators and regulators. CIE is instrumental in ensuring that future regulation considers and improves upon the existing standards within the industry and can potentially ensure the betterment of the overall quality and lifetime of the products created. The sheer amount of innovation means that CIE is necessary. To work for regulation that allows the industry to develop in a productive and sustainable direction. I think it is fair to say that the majority of people who take cycling seriously recognize the potential of cycling in the shift towards a more sustainable everyday life for the average consumer. With an organized effort towards enabling the industry to realize that potential, cycling will not only be a sustainable alternative, it will be the practical alternative as well.
4. What or who in the cycling industry inspires you?
Annie Kopchovsky springs to mind. She died in the forties so she’s not exactly a current figure in the cycling industry, but I find her story exciting. As far as I’ve read she was the first woman to cycle around the world, back in 1895 at a time when cycling was booming in the US. She went on this amazing journey around the world, throughout it all she was getting sponsorships and giving talks to finance her journey and even though she apparently did the majority of her travelling with a bicycle rather than by bicycle I still think it is a fantastic moment in history where cycling was a part of something socially significant. She was also, allegedly, quite a prolific storyteller and frequently embellished the tales of her travels quite substantially which I think is absolutely brilliant. But whether she did all the things she claimed or not she was still a woman who emigrated to the US when she was 5, whose parents died when she was 17, had 4 kids by the time she was 22 and by 25 she had travelled around the world with a bicycle. All of that in the late 1800s, it really is inspiring.
Someone more current might possibly be Simon Søndergaard who founded Buddha Bikes in Copenhagen and has dedicated himself to exclusively fixing old bicycles, giving them new life. He makes cycling even more sustainable with his effort and that too is inspiring.
5. Describe in 5 words how cycling is saving the world.
In this special edition of Member of the Month, we asked Jochum to share a few words on why he joined CIE from the very beginning, in addition to how he believes cycling is saving the world.
Laplander: Heavy-Duty Cargo Bikes Made in Europe
"At Laplandar we design and construct cargo bikes for one purpose: hard work." Alongside Reelight, Jochum and his team at Laplander also manufacture heavy-duty electric cargo bikes - explore more at laplandar.com!