Bicycles opening doors for social opportunities

Viver de Bike is a member of the Red Innova and was a semifinalist in the 1# edition of the Social Innovation Awards by Fundación MAPFRE, powered by IE. They competed in Brazil in the category of Mobility and Road Safety. Red Innova is a global community of social innovators, who participated in the awards. Our members come from all across Latin America and Europe and have projects related to Mobility, Road Safety, Health, Ageingnomics, and Insurance Innovation.

The arrival of the pandemic nearly stopped Aromeioazeiro (Aro) from working. The pandemic brought obstacles to both their internal operations and their workers’ wellbeing, but despite everything, Aro continued to work fiercely to get the most out of the social opportunities that bicycles can open. After having to review all their planning and adapting to the pandemic scenario, Aro continued to offer their bike courses, this time online through their Youtube channel and with the support of learning materials. Almost a year after their adaptation to the online world, their nine online classes provided strong success rates: nearly 10,000 visualizations that have impacted hundreds of citizens’ lives.

But how is Aro profiting from the social opportunities that bicycles can open in online and physical spaces? First of all, they are using bikes as economic drivers. Their courses (online or presential) continue to help generate jobs for the attendees, who, after graduating, can reform/fix bikes and are now trained to work in the area. Hence, it extends the working opportunities for those participants, makes them more qualified, and opens new doors. In addition, some of their campaigns, such as “Bike Parada Nao Rola”, which collects unused bikes, can contribute to a circular economy. In this project, the collected bikes can be reformed and used as learning materials in the courses and can also be donated for courses’ participants who are in need. They can also be sold by Aro to continue funding their projects. In addition,  the bikes that get donated for the courses and that participants get after completing their studies can generate more social inclusion. That is, as Aromeiazero’s director and founder explained:

“Many times, the population that has access to bicycles is restricted. And the bike has many social opportunities, in inclusion, in mental health, in leisure, and your work. The bike can bring you to many places, and it can help you to work but also to help you to have leisure because people can get to places.” Murilo Casagrande.

Therefore, as explained by Aro, the donation of a bike can affect one’s personal life in several different ways. In some cases, it can allow for easier access to the city, allowing one to have access to schools, hospitals, work, and enjoy other activities without it being challenging. For example, some of Aro’s beneficiaries shared their experiences and affirmed that they are now cycling in the streets and cycle lanes more often, contributing enormously to their mental health, especially because finding a new hobby during the pandemic can be very healthy.

There are many other ways in which Aromeiazero has been contributing to the development of sustainable activities and boosting social inclusion. If you are interested in understanding how they are creating more social inclusion and defending feminism and diversity in the work environment, read our previous interview with Murilo Casagrande on the 27th of July 2021.

Finally, if you are interested in supporting Aromeiazero’s fantastic initiatives, you can do it by downloading for free the app “Km solidário” and selecting their project. The app is entirely free, all you have to do is register your kilometers through the app (walking, running, cycling, swimming, any way you make it). Once you register them, outside sponsors will be paying for these kilometers, and you will be donating to their project without any costs. Please go check it out!


Author Bio:

Eduarda Uliana is a Brazilian/Italian fourth-year Behavioral and Social Sciences student. Currently, she is a behavioral design intern at the Center for Social Innovation and Sustainability at IE Foundation, a research assistant at the Behavioral Economics and Social Psychology lab (BESP), president of the IE Behavioral Economics club and IE Grants4Impact Challenge jury.

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