Ten years after its birth, MonzainBici can boast an enviable entourage of cyclists but the same cannot be said for the cycle paths that are in short supply in the city famous for Formula 1. Giuseppe Piazza, president of the city association also a member of Fiab, complains about "public administrations that too often make announcements of interventions that then do not translate into concrete and efficient projects". In Monza and throughout Lombardy, with a few exceptions near Emilia, perhaps influenced by the more virtuous neighbor.
1) How was MonzaInBici born and how did it grow?
MonzainBici was born in July 2002 on the initiative of 5 friends, all with experiences in the world of environmentalism, who, after months of chatting and discussions among themselves, decided to give life to a cycle-environmental association, with a strong green imprint , immediately associating it with the FIAB which currently gathers about 130 cycle-environmental associations throughout Italy. This year MonzainBici will celebrate its tenth anniversary with an event to be held on 10 June.
2) What are the major activities that the association carries out today?
Our association has two souls that I consider equally important and integrated with each other. There is the environmentalist soul, the most important and qualifying mission of our association, which deals with cycle mobility, encouraging cycle paths, traffic moderation, bike sharing, parking spaces for bicycles, bicycles, intermodality of means of transport. Then there is the section that we could call cycling, which offers trips and leisure events that improve the knowledge of our members, the sense of belonging and the enjoyment of the cultural and environmental beauties of which our territory is very rich.
3) How do you evaluate the situation of cycle paths in Brianza and Lombardy, compared to other regions?
Lombardy, and in particular the city of Monza, are far behind in encouraging soft mobility, both compared to the unattainable cities of Northern Europe, and compared to many Italian cities, in particular Emilia and Veneto, where the bicycle use has a strongly consolidated tradition.
As far as Monza is concerned, there are few cycle paths, poorly connected to each other and made in an unreasonable way, because they do not reach the nerve centers of the city and the nodes of the mobility of public transport, such as the railway station or bus parking. They also do not guarantee easy access to the center from the suburbs of the city.
In the rest of Lombardy too, public administrations too often make announcements of interventions which then do not translate into concrete and efficient projects. The network of cycle paths is in fact scarce, with some greater attention in the lowland areas, particularly in the provinces of Mantua and Cremona, which are favorably affected by the cycling tradition of the surrounding regions.
4) How can young people be made aware of the use of bikes? What is cyclosophy and how can it capture them?
MonzainBici is trying to involve the younger generations in encouraging sustainable mobility, with mixed fortunes, because it collides with an image, unfortunately still very strong, of the use of bicycles with secondary means of transport, outclassed by motor vehicles, which they seem more suited to the youthful spirit. For this reason, we participate in the Bicibus, which consists in encouraging the use of bicycles to reach schools, accompanying the children by our volunteers, trying, with a success still to be improved, to make the bicycle the usual means of transport and not. that of the single day of the event. But to do this it would require a strong commitment from the municipality, which in Monza is still too scarce.
Cyclosophy is a neologism that seeks to deepen the cultural motivations that must lead to an increasingly extensive use of the bicycle for the improvement of the environment - just think of reducing pollution - reduce vehicular traffic, favor an alternative way of living holidays, all concepts that combine to improve everyone's lifestyle and the liveability of our cities. On our website (www.monzainbici.it) a special section is dedicated to cyclosophy, where the publications that develop the concept are reported.
5) Let's talk about cycling holidays: which ones do you recommend?
There are now many associations and specialized tour operators offering cycling holidays. This year the FIAB has also organized, for the first time independently, a holiday in Austria in July and one in France in August: especially abroad, long cycle paths have been set up that are optimally usable for cycling holidays.
6) Bicycle maintenance, what project did you put in place and with what results?
As we are aware of how important it is for safety to have a fully efficient bicycle, MonzainBici, thanks to the much appreciated commitment of one of our members, annually schedules some meetings on bicycle maintenance.
7) In times of crisis, is cycling good for you? Why?
Unfortunately the bicycle is still seen as a "poor" means of transport and not yet, as it should, an ecological means and useful for the health of those who use it, but also for the rest of the population; therefore the greater use of bicycles, certainly documented in recent years, has also been attributed to the economic crisis that Europe is going through. A recent London Times survey attributed to the crisis a greater use of bicycles to get to work in central London. We would like the crisis to lead to a rethinking of lifestyles, with an incentive for gentle mobility, which can then remain as a stable habits positive result of these difficult times, because cycling is good for us and for the environment, regardless of considerations. only economic.
Interview byMarta Abbà