Let’s Bike About: Pedal Towards a Greener Malta

Let’s Bike About: Pedal Towards a Greener Malta

The Bike About project seeks to increase the use of bicycles as part of our NGO work, to promote cycling and bicycle use amongst our volunteers, youth group and community, and to teach people the skill of cycling and bicycle repair.

Why promote cycling in Malta?

Cycling is one of the main modes of transport to promote a shift to sustainable mobility. The average trip distance in Malta of 5.5km lends itself very well to short bicycle commutes; a 5km trip takes just 15 to 20 minutes. With investment in cycling infrastructure and the wider availability of electric bicycles to help overcome issues related to the hills and summer heat (including the government grants to aid in the purchase), cycling is becoming an option for more people and interest in this mode of transport is growing locally.

To promote cycling as a mode of transport, it is important that people see others modeling this behavior, and to learn the practical skills to practice cycling and how to repair bicycles, both of which are addressed through our project. By teaching people how to cycle and how to do so safely (for commuting to school or work) and by showcasing the use of an e-cargo bike to transport goods, we aim to enable and inspire more people to make the shift to cycling, for some or all of their trips. Cycling is a form of climate action! A reduction in private car use by shifting to cycling contributes to greenhouse gas emission reductions and an improved quality of life in the locality and country.

We choose a cargo bike instead of a car

With all this in mind, we feel that leading by example is the key. As an environmental NGO, we often attend public events and workshops at community centres, such as schools, youth clubs, university and local councils.

Our new cargo bike, with Suzanne (Climate Campaign Coordinator and Bike About project manager) at the steering wheel, and Ann (Climate Campaign and Bike About project assistant) testing out the cargo box.

Through the Bike About project, we have been able to purchase an electric cargo bike so that we can attend outreach events by bicycle and take all the equipment we need, such as banners, flyers and workshop materials, in an easy and environmentally friendly manner. The e-cargo bike will also be made available for use by our volunteers, our youth group, as well as members of the community against a deposit.

Learning to cycle with the Maltese community

Many people, including younger generations, have never learned to cycle. Research shows that around a third of all Maltese citizens do not know how to ride a bicycle. Especially for youths, cycling can provide a form of active, affordable and independent mobility. As part of this project, we will offer cycling training to our volunteers, our youth group, and our local community.

There will be sessions suitable for beginners, as well as for people to become more confident bicycle commuters. Providing bicycle riding lessons to the public would allow people to learn this basic skill while forming sustainable mobility habits for the rest of their life. We will also organise bicycle repair sessions where participants can learn the basics of how to look after and maintain their bicycle and how to fix basic problems, such as punctures and brake issues.

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