We create unforgettable bicycle experiences and empower young Moroccans to build a healthier tomorrow.
Morocco as the cycling capital of Africa
Bicycles offer a pollution-free solution to transport. They take up less space on the roads and they are safer to use.
At Pikala, we focus on three layers of society: people (bicycle awareness training), business (bicycle employment) and government institutions (bicycle infrastructure in cities).
Cantal Bakker learned the power of cycling while teaching refugees in the Netherlands how to cycle. At the age of 24 she decided to move to Morocco to fight polluting scooters and cars with the mission to make Marrakesh the cycling capital of Morocco.
Her family and friends said she was crazy, but several years later, Pikala has become one of the biggest social projects in Marrakesh, winning multiple prestigious awards and nominations from international organisations such as the United Nations WTO, Smart City, and the Ben Salah Foundation.
Employing the New Generation
Bicycle guides, delivery riders, mechanics… Within Pikala we build multiple eco-friendly businesses around the bicycle, employing the new generation of Moroccans in a sustainable way. With this model the bicycle integrates within society and the profits made go to support our other social goals.
At Pikala, we don’t just provide employment. We deliver extensive training for all our positions, from bicycle guides to managers and everything in between. We also guide employees in developing of their professional career. It is our focus to facilitate them in their growth as much as we can. If employees show up late for work, they will not be fired - instead, we search for the cause of the problem, and guide them to a more professional attitude, from which they can benefit for the rest of their life. Additionally, our work environment encourages employees to care for their society and the planet at large.
Building Bicycle Infrastructure
With our Dutch partners, we share key knowledge about urban bicycle infrastructure with local Moroccan authorities and policymakers. We lobby and advise on improving bicycle infrastructure in urban areas of Morocco.
We have organised many network events where policy makers and city architects of Marrakesh have participated in workshops with top experts in the field of bicycle infrastructure. With our partners “GoudAppel Koffeng” and the municipalities of major Dutch cities, such as Amsterdam and Utrecht, we provide a valuable knowledge exchange to make efficient bicycle infrastructure happen and thrive in Morocco.
Cycling is a male dominated activity in Morocco. To support women’s empowerment, we provide free and safe cycling lessons for women and girls. We want to contribute to enabling them with greater freedom of mobility and the opportunity to try an activity traditionally pursued by boys and men.
Our “safe course” lessons start in a park so that girls can learn how to ride the bicycle in a more sheltered environment away from traffic and crowds of people. This helps to support their feelings of safety and promotes confidence as they experience the benefits of cycling.
Traffic Safety Lessons
We are now the new authority when it comes to traffic safety lessons for primary schools in Marrakesh. Our “cycling diploma” scheme is an educational program which uses the bicycle to welcome the new generation to safe traffic participation.
This aspect of Pikala has roots in Dutch cycling culture. In the Netherlands, every child needs to gain a cycling diploma at the age of 10. Research has shown this gives children an advantage in their early development by learning road navigation which helps them to respect traffic safety rules at a later age.
Pikala has introduced the cycling diploma into the curriculum of primary schools in Marrakesh and Agadir. We teach pupils how to cycle, how to respect traffic safety rules, and about the health benefits of cycling for the body and the environment.
At Pikala we run social events, company outings and workshops, communication campaigns, and much more. We offer many different cycling events for our range of partners to stimulate the use of bicycles.
We offer a free bicycle repairs scheme for those on a lower income during our yearly “Bicycle Atelier”. This is to encourage safe cycling for all, use our funds to help those in need and improve access to cycling. We also provide social activities around the relationship between environmental awareness and the use of bicycles.
Aside from our bicycle social events, we have provided commercial communication campaigns for big brands like Orange, DHL and Tui.