C: Hi Aba, thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

I know that you are directly involved with cycling through your work, what could you tell us about it?

A: I am the Education and Young People’s officer for Essex working for Sustrans. In my role I promote sustainable transport, so anything that represents green transport as a whole (with a particular focus on cycling) in order to discourage the use of cars.

My target audience is education institutions throughout Essex and, more specifically, those that want to have Sustrans’ support, guidance and help. So at the moment I work with about 30 primary and secondary schools, the Colchester 6th Form College and Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford.

C: What sort of events do you run for these institutions?

A:The work is quite different from one age group to another.  For example, for the infant/ primary/ secondary schools, we run anEcoRace– a competition which rewards pupils according to the way they go to school (maximum points for cycling, minimum for getting there by car). This creates a healthy competition among classes, as well as among schools within the county and encourages pupils to put pressure on their parents about finding an alternative to the car, and choose more active ways of getting to school.

With the Colchester 6th Form College I focus only on cycling and on promoting this. It is great because we have a core group of students who have volunteered to become part of the promotional team, with the role of designing and creating ways to promote cycling in the college. This has been running for 3 years now and their campaign in the first 2 years resulted in 5 different posters about cycling, as well as various competitions and activities on social media

Finally, with Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford we work mainly to ensure cycle safety and security

C: I have read a little about the Bike Friendly Cities competition, could tell me more about it?

A:Of course- the Bike Friendly Cities is a stand-alone leg of the Eco-Race. The Eco-Race that I talked about earlier is a year-long competition, so the Bike Friendly Cities is an extra chance for those schools that have already registered with the Eco-Race, as well as those that haven’t signed up yet to take part in a 2-week competition starting from the 24th March 2014.

If anyone is interested in this and would like to get their school involved, please contact me on aba.pifferi@sustrans.org.uk for more information.

C: Now that we got a feel for what you do around cycling as part of your job, would you like to say a little about what cycling means to you personally?

A:Well, I see cycling as an efficient method of transport. So, most of the times, I cycle to get from one location to another rather than as a leisure activity. I have not had a car for 18 years now and I don’t regret making the decision to get rid of it at all. Ever since then I have been walking or cycling to get to my destination and it has really made me happier and kept me fitter than the car would have done.

C: That’s great, thank you for sharing all this with us!

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