‘Vélo Cità’ – functioning and concerns of an active association

a-squadra-velocitaCreated in 2008, this association of around sixty people set out to promote what we could call nowadays ‘conscious and clean travelling’ – ironic in ways when you think about it; the necessity to use the word ‘clean’, carrying us back to former times when the planet could have been called as such. However, we have come a long way since, or have we .. depending on how you visualise your environment and how you consider the scale of your values.

The natural potential of this island calls for outdoor activities; this is undeniable – leading us to what would appear evident, nevertheless, here lies the problem of insufficient infrastructure as regards cycling – thus, the need for associative gatherings and project progression.

Consider the climate here; one can literally count on over 300 sunny days per year.
Now, take into consideration the population of the island; over 322.000 – neither dense nor sparse, allowing innovation in many domains and certainly in outdoor activities, many of which have been exploited and are continually attractive.
Now, let’s see how does this association operates; Guillaume whom I met accepted to inform me and answer any queries I would have.
Directly involved, ten people operate in order to respond to those interested, proposing their time, energy and patience, teaching and transmitting the natural benefits of cycling for all. A workshop is functional ‘veliberta’, open to the public and within which one can learn the basics as regards to repairs – something we often neglect, due to lack of simple practise, most of the time.
Bikes are brought and given to the association, thus, a process of ‘recycling’ is engaged too, an important point to emphasise; resulting in a regular amount available upon demand (around ten), all year around. Quality service with quality equipment, follow-up and exchange, all very much part of their functioning.
In the summer months, needless to say there is a constant request, along with holiday makers who spend time in the city – for this association caters for Ajaccio (similar or likewise can be found in some other towns). There is also the ‘being part of an association’ side that offers social benefits to members, with meetings and gatherings, and should not be neglected. velos
Interesting to learn, cycling on paths is authorised for children up to eight years of age, also the (surprising) fact that helmets are not (by law) required here – I’d have thought quite the opposite in fact, but, Guillaume explained he understood this, saying car drivers often apprehended cyclists even more so, when seen with helmets – a psychological effect, in other words, debatable certes, but, interesting for reflection.
Any projects they still feel they need to accomplish ?
– to continue enticing the public to change their travelling ‘habits’
– teaching all to cycle correctly in the city, adapting to town(s)
– searching and finding new itineraries within the town, enabling cyclists to find their way more easily and also offering alternative choices
Remembering that this association is a small structure, their workshop is also part of a neighbouring association ‘A Scopa’ (dealing with artistic creations, music, circus, climbing etc,.).
As they carry out surveys from time to time, they notice the gradual increase of cyclists, which is encouraging all the same – Guillaume also stated they intend opening a ‘bike school’ one of these days, it is very much part of their projects. However, it is a known fact that those in charge, those who make the decisions, do not hold cycling in their top priorities – financial aid (although existing) needs to be restudied, decisions taken for the multiplication of bike lanes (drastically required), and a general ‘interest’ ignited – also adding, bike shelters and ‘parking’ spaces, minimum demands, many of which are already a priority by law.
le-porte-vélosIt’s not difficult to name the positive aspects here, and there are many:
– less pollution
– less risk than driving a car
– a healthier conception
– positive humour, thus affecting health
– economic
– social
– ecological (environmental impact)
– in the long term, more economical for districts (infrastructure)
– space economy
– financial economy
– quality of life (sound/hearing)

Recently, public meetings have started in the centre of the city on a monthly basis at the Bistrot du Cours, where initiative is attempting to push ideas/suggestions forward to those in charge, hopefully resulting in a gain of time and forcefully demonstrating public demand on this subject, gaining support and followers – time will relate the rest of this story …

Where Vélo Cità is concerned, volunteers are welcome to join their efforts any time !

Photos credit: Vélo Cità

site: velocita.jimdo.com

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