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Risto Kalmre – founding father of a country’s urban cycling scene

As we talked about Lucas Brunelle last time, this time we are going to take a look into the life of someone slightly closer to us.
 
Often referred to as one of the founding fathers of the bicycle culture movement in Estonia, man who has gotten thousands of people to gather up on their bikes, and a man who brought together people across different continents for Simple Session – Risto Kalmre.
 
Risto is definitely best known for organising one of the world’s biggest extreme sport competitions Simpel Session with his brother Mario. Hosted annually since as far as 2001, the event brings together BMX riders and skateboarders around the world, currently with the audience-base of over 1 million people, both at the spot and behind the screen.
 

This event has inspired the brothers so much that by the end of 2015 they opened the biggest extreme sport centre in the Baltics – Spot of Tallinn. Right beside Tallinn, with a great mission to offer better and more opportunities for the young & talented riders across the country.
 
The urban bicycle movement started in 2011 during Tallinn Bicycle Week, when Risto Kalmre, with a few other bicycle enthusiasts, organised a night ride (called Tour d’ÖÖ). Starting off as an event of organisers and their closest friends it has now turned into mass rides with over 2000 participants. This amount of people cycling on the streets directly shows the growth of the urban cycling culture in Tallinn. Events like these are a good way to show the growing existence of cyclists and through that have a louder voice in the future of city planning.
 

 
Seeing the growth of the urban cycling movement, Risto, back in 2014, made the next obvious step – opening a bicycle studio (called JOOKS) in one of the fastest developing parts of Tallinn. A studio, which serves purpose as a store for dapper urban bikes, serving coffee and is also known as the headquarters of Tallinn bicycle movement. Furthermore, it is used to host variety of events, for example few smaller concerts from Tallinn Music Week.
 
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At the end of the day, Risto is a graphic designer by profession.  After all of this organising he still has time for running an agency.
 
Risto is truly a person, who “takes the bull by its horns” – if something isn’t right, he makes it right. He truly wants to make this place better and more liveable for all of us.
 
Where to next, who knows, but with the Simple Session coming right up, lets wish them all the best.
 
Sweet sixteen Simple Session! Watch it live this weekend at – http://session.ee/2016/otse/