The multi-award winning documentary “A Alma de um Ciclista”, directed by Nuno Tavares, served as the motto for a debate that, last week, took to the space of Casa do Meio-Dia, in Loulé, the theme of cycling mobility and its importance in the context of mitigating the effects of climate change or healthy living habits, as well as projects taking place in the municipality of Loulé.
Through a group of “classic” cyclists and their common interest in the classic bicycle, the film led the participants to discover values that are being lost in modern society, «such as the importance of friendship, ecology, valuing the old, the rejection of consumerism, the commitment to the circular economy and other important premises to achieve a happier, simpler and more fulfilled life with what really matters», says the municipality in a note.
Afterwards, there was a conversation about what has been the integration of the commitment to promoting the use of bicycles in municipal policies in Loulé.
The School has been one of the main axes of this work, and, for this reason, three Physical Education teachers who have been at the forefront of projects such as “School Sports on Wheels”, nationwide, promoted by the Ministry of Education, or “A Bicicleta goes to School”, a municipal initiative co-financed by the European program “Healthy Cities”.
According to the Municipality, introducing basic notions and teaching children to ride a bicycle, also instilling this taste in them, has been a task to which teachers Isabel Guerreiro (Escola EB1 da Fonte Santa, Quarteira), Eduardo Fernandes (School EB2,3 António de Sousa Agostinho, Almancil) and Carlos Jara (School EB2,3 Padre Cabanita).
However, «despite the high acceptance of students, and many students already know how to ride a bicycle, the truth is that things are different beyond the borders of the school, not least because there is fear on the part of parents when it comes to safety of cyclists on the roads», says the municipality.
This is, according to councilor Carlos Carmo, «a cultural problem, of mentality, which makes this cohabitation between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians difficult».
«It is with the kids that we have the ability to change and educate for the appreciation of the bicycle as a means of mobility, promoter of a healthy lifestyle, re-educating them for the importance of that cohabitation and that security», he considered, adding that « in terms of smooth mobility we got it right». However, he says that “it remains to contribute to changing the ship in terms of safety. In a driving school they teach us to drive but they don't teach us to cohabit with another type of mobility».
The delivery of more bicycles to schools and the project to implement a shared system for public use with more than 500 bicycles in various parts of the county (whose public tender will be launched by the end of this year) are some of the actions that will soon move forward , assured Carlos Carmo.
«We can't buy happiness but we can buy a bicycle, which is almost the same thing», said one of the teachers at the closing of yet another event that was part of Climate Week in Loulé.