Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details

A bike bloggers' European network

A bike bloggers' European network

My idea is to create a Multilanguage European network of bike bloggers and journalists which will have the goal to spread cycling culture all over Europe and to strengthen advocacy activities. A kind of “alpha version” of this network has already been successfully tested in Italy under the name of #Salvaiciclisti.

In February 2012 the cycling advocacy in Italy came to a turning point: 38 bike bloggers stepped into the issue importing the British campaign “Cities Fit for Cyclists”to Italy. #salvaiciclisti was born. The results have been a 50 thousand people demonstration in Rome, cities and region started to allocate more money for cycling infrastructures: FIAB was not alone anymore in advocating cycling.

The informal network called #salvaiciclisti demonstrated its efficiency during the appeal made by the ECF to address the MEPs to include Eurovelo within the TEN-T network. Through a twitbombing activity the Italian MEPs were the first ones to claim their support to Eurovelo.

Besides that #Salvaiciclisti was eventually able to:
- Rise the attention of journalists about cycling
- Rise the attention of the public opinion about cyclists’ safety
- Give more strength to FIAB
- Give more courage to shy local politicians afraid of loss of consensus

#salvaiciclisti is a good practice that is worth to be replied on a wider, international dimension.

My Idea is hence to create a network of bike bloggers (and hence of cyclists) all over Europe. The hub of this network will be a portal/online magazine were bloggers and journalist will produce and publish contents about cycling culture, cycling policies, urbanism, fashion, etc.

The big amount of information available and the high quality of the content will attract much of traffic of cyclists who might easily turn themselves into biketivists and will create an international community engaged to changing the shape of our cities.
A skilled use of social media will guarantee an ample audience from all over the world and a big engagement with the local federations in a short time.
The editor of this media/community will be the ECF.

In order to strengthen the relations among bloggers and the whole community, social events will be organized. These events will have the multiple aim to encourage engagement and fidelity, but also to boost the exchange of ideas and best practices as well as communication strategies (i.e. how to use social and traditional media in the most effective way) which might be really useful for local national federations. A proper use of social media will guarantee in a short time a wide audience from all over the world and a bigger engagement

The goals of the blogger network will be:
1. spreading cycling culture all over Europe
2. encouraging the circulation of best practices
3. creating a task force able to intervene in case of need on crucial issues (helmet,
insurance, plate laws)
4. creating leadership about transportation policies
5. giving strength and audience to the ECF and to the local federations
6. creating a base of consensus in order to make advocacy more effective

Launching a network like this has costs.
Nevertheless, since this network risks to become the biggest media in the world about cycling culture, it will be appealing for investors and sponsors, this will hence allow to reach the break even just after few months. Besides that the events created by the network will attract enough money to make the project profitable.

The main problem for any project run on a European level is the language gap between people living in countries of the union. Translators are really expensive and it’s not thinkable to translate every single content internally: the community is the resource to solve this problem. Through an incentive system similar to the fidelity cards in supermarkets, everytime somebody translates an article, he/she will get some credits which can be spent to get rewards offered by sponsor or by the platform itself: a saddle, a frame or just a discount to take part to the events organized by the network.

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Paolo Pinzuti
Izmir, Turkey

Category: Advocacy and Social Projects

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