This project is based on the assumption that sustainable mobility in general and cycling in particular is not only a rational form of getting from A to B but that it is a cultural expression. This means that cycling is understood as a complex social practice with components such as skills, know-how, confidence, pride, aesthetics, political and historical awareness, social dynamics, reputation, equipment, gadgets, music, film, art, etc. The project aims to equip a core group of young people in Italy (primarily in Florence) with an appreciation and knowledge about such a comprehensive notion of cycling and thus to enable them to spread the word, the sight, the sound, the feeling – in short: the culture of cycling to many others.
The project aims to foster awareness about the necessity of an ecological transition and about the necessity of new mobility habits – in particular cycling – as crucial element of such a transition. Habits do not typically change in response to rational argument and facts, however. Instead, the project acknowledges and uses the emotional, social and cultural dimensions of cycling through the training of a core group of young Florentines who are committed to spread the message through the snowball effect. The ultimate objective is to contribute to the growth and connection of a cycling community in Florence, Italy and beyond.
One direct result of the project will be an interactive eCourse that addresses all kinds of aspects that constitute the "culture" of cycling. This will range from skills, know-how, pride, aesthetics, gadgets via political and historical awareness, social reputation, equipment, to music, film and art. The course will enable a local core group in Firenze (and later elsewhere) to mobilise enthusiasm for non-competitive cycling among wider social groups, including policy makers. The ultimate result is a "kit" that can be used by any local bike activists to promote cycling as an enjoyable and convenient mode of everyday transport.
The project consists of three main actions, and we are involved in all of them. Our main contribution will be to action 1, which revolves around the development and delivery of an e-course about sustainable mobility with a focus on cycling as a cultural expression. Corresponding elements of the curriculum therefore touch upon cycling history, safety, myth busting, best practice, artistic expressions, cycling communities, gender aspects and much more. The course will be available on an open-source platform (action 2) to whose wider structure we also contribute. We also play a part in the hands-on training delivery to the local core group in Italy (action 3).