The Danish Bicycle Games in Rio de Janeiro

| September 23, 2016
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Brazilian kids trying out different bicycle games in Rio. Credit: Fabio Nazareth

Parallel to The Olympic Games in Rio, a bicycle initiative took place in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Here the Brazilian bicycle organization, Bike Anjo, had arranged a bicycle workshop with an array of games, ideas, and inspiration. Balder Brøndsted, a representative of the Danish Cyclists´ Federation and VisitDenmark, participated in the workshop, to share knowledge and ideas from the Danish bicycle community. The event took place from August 12th to 14th

The purpose of the workshop was to increase the amount of Brazilians using bikes, namely Brazilian kids. The workshop entails an array of events and seminars at different locations in Rio.

Bicycle games
A fun and easy way for the kids to get to learn riding bikes are through games. At the workshops, Balder Brøndsted, a bicycle teacher from Denmark, presented a range of different bicycle games. These games are normally used to teach Danish kids to bicycle and in increasing their balance and orientation skills while bicycling. Furthermore, the games are a way of developing the bicycle culture in Brazil. As Balder put it:

Bicycle games is an example of a practical and physical approach to urban development”.

Urban development is very much needed in Rio. Rio has more than 6 million inhabitants; a functioning infrastructure is therefore essential. Cycling is a way of decreasing the pressure on infrastructure in Rio. The project is designed to encourage more children to use their bikes in a safe manner on an everyday basis.  Through these bicycle games, children are practicing basic skills in order to ride their bikes more safely.

The games and tools Balder are using are quite simple, which according to Balder achieves the best results:

“It is the simplest things that works while working with kids. You can begin with things such as drawing bike lanes and patterns with chalk, using cones so the kids can drive in slalom and using sheets, rings and drums to function as obstacles. It doesn’t have to be so complex; it is the smallest of things that have the biggest impact on children.”

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Bike Anjo is a community of passionate cyclists whos main goal is to learn Brazilians how to ride a bike. Credit: Fabio Nazareth

Growing interest among the Brazilians 
Throughout the workshop days, more and more people participated in the event. This interest encouraged the volunteers in Bike Anjo to work even harder on getting more Brazilian kids on bikes. The vision is to get all Brazilian kids on their bikes, and bicycle games are a means to that end.

The interest in developing a bicycle culture in Brazil is definitely something the Danish bicycle community should participate in. Denmark has a lot of know-ledge on the bicycle know-how, which Brazil could be inspired from. It is not utopian that the Danish examples aid Brazil, making their infrastructure more sustainable, their cities more livable and a bicycle culture a priority in Brazil.

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Category: Brazil, Children, Commuting, Cycling, Danish cycling culture, Danish Cycling Know How, Health, Rio de Janeiro, South America, Young Cyclists

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