Last week, Dutch experts travelled to Marrakech, Morocco to discuss how the city can become more cycling friendly during a seminar organized by

Pikala Bikes is a social initiative which empowers local youth in Marrakech through the bike. They teach them how to repair bikes in their bike atelier, offer bike tours through the region and provide cargo logistics with their bikes in the vibrant city.

In order to address the issues at a governmental level, Pikala decided to organize a seminar focused on stakeholders in Transport in the region. Dutch experts Ruben Loendersloot from Loendersloot Groep, Frans Jan van Rossem from the City of UtrechtJanine Hogendoorn from Ring-Ring®, Lee Feldman from BYCS, Jacques Godijn from HR Group, Camila Pinzon from Urbanos and Edward Douma from the Dutch Cycling Embassy-staff discussed how the city of Marrakesh could be improved by cycling. The presentations covered a range of topics in their presentations, such as city logistics by bike, urban development, bike stimulation and community building.

The presentation was, amongst others, attended by the Mayor of Marrakesh and the Dutch Ambassador, who closed the seminar. After the seminar, the high officials rode together on a group bike through the city to the new Holland Bike Atelier by Pikala Bikes. The Dutch Ambassador opened the new atelier, after which five days of free bike repair are being offered to the local people.

The event stressed the importance of taking the bicycle seriously while discussing mobility in the city, where the cars and motorcycles congest and pollute the city on a daily basis. A fruitful visit, so to say!

Photo credits: Abdel Nouri

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Another aspect that was discussed in the seminar was tactical urbanism featuring an urban intervention by Urbanos. The intervention took back a part of a small square away from cars by using paint and plants. The extra space was created in front of a school, so the kids who go to school could use it to hang out during the breaks in a safe way. It proved to be very popular among the local people since it was being used intensively and the local people even took care of the plants from their own initiative.

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