23 Dec 2018
Marrakech, Morocco
Sustainable Transport

There are many ways to enjoy the medina in Marrakech, but what’s better than crossing the busy city to take in all its history? Cantal Bakker was visiting Marrakech for the first time when she realized that its beautiful, small streets are part of a labyrinth. “At some moment, I thought that I had enough and that I need to find my own way, to also escape a little bit from the position of being a tourist which that can be limiting,” Bakker says of her first induction to bikes in Marrakech.

Being Dutch, Bakker was no strange to cycling. But when she started cycling through the city, people positively reacted to her through thumbs up and shouting, “Pikala!”, which means bicycle in Berber. “It was a beautiful experience and since the city is flat, it was easy to navigate,” she adds.

Bakker thought why people aren’t cycling as well and that inspired her to reach out to the mostly young population of Marrakech with an idea that fits within their limited financial means and their good health. “I thought that I need to deploy the idea which can benefit the population and create employment while building a bridge between the locals and visitors because on a bicycle we’re all equal,” Bakker notes.

Her initiative which she called ‘Pikala’ had a major environmental factor but she used it as a platform to spread health, equality, mobility, and other ideas. Bakker also highlighted that 60% of the population are youth. That’s why she tries to spread her vision via social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram through some interesting content. “We also get people who would like to join through the word-of mouth,” she adds.

“We further communicate with students from university and girls, and we try to put up posters,” Bakker states.

Despite not having had connections or strong knowledge of the country, Bakker managed to establish a strong initiative. But she is not slowing down; apart from the touristic services Pikala offers, she’s planning on improving the mobility plan for the city in collaboration with the municipalities. “Our project is not yet self-sustained so we seek the help of the Municipality of Marrakech that has provided us with the space. We’ve also gained the support of the TUI Care Foundation,” she says adding that the plan is to turn her business to self-financing, while seeking funding for specific projects.

Learn more about Pikala through their website and Facebook Page.

Photos: Courtesy of Pikala.

Pikala Sustainable Transport
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