900 km of cycle path, crowdfunding leaves its mark!

Ciclovia Aida: the bike path to be taken, one km at a time, to expand the national network and connect Unesco assets from France to Istria.

25 Nov 2019

An amazing idea of FIAB Onlus, included in the Bicitalia network recognized by the Ministry of Transport, to connect the cities of the north by using 50% of the routes already completed: Susa, Turin, Vercelli, Novara, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padua,Venice, Treviso, Pordenone, Udine and Trieste.

A crowdfunding campaign for a project in harmony with the policies in favor of cycling and that will enhance the territory.

We all adopt an AIDA Ciclovia KM!

To learn more, read this interview with the creator of the project, the FIAB Onus...

How did AIDA come about and how did you manage to create such a strong community over time?

AIDA was born in 2016 from a simple breakfast chat between two FIAB Onlus volunteers, who asked themselves: "But what is the best route between our two cities by bike?"

Since the path was not there ... we dreamed it! In reality, rather than dreamed we have "discovered" it, because we have simply mapped and networked the various "trunks" paths between the provinces of Northern Italy.

After a year and a half of patrols with the volunteers of the 4 regions involved in the 900 km of AIDA, we organized a "Bicistaffetta" for the other FIAB members, where starting in two groups from Susa and Trieste we found ourselves in Verona, after a long tour with mayors, councilors and citizens on the route.
Three years after our departure, we realized we had to take another design step ... and we came to Crowdfunding.

In "digital" terms, the AIDA community is not so strong ... let's say that the community was created along the way, based on the "real community" of FIAB, that is almost 20,000 members who dream of a Cycle Country: the most important secret AIDA was considered an open platform, capable of generating participatory paths.

Fiab ha fatto un lavoro egregio fin dagli anni bui con il progetto della rete Bicitalia, riconosciuto dal Ministero dei Trasporti: AIDA fa parte del progetto come percorso Bicitalia 20.

Credo sia doveroso anche citare il progetto VenTo del Politecnico di Milano, che è un progetto che consideriamo nostro alleato e che ha avuto il merito di accendere il dibattito sulle Ciclovie Nazionali.

Quindi siamo in ritardo, ma potremmo recuperare in fretta viste le bellezze che possiamo offrire al visitatore in sella: se solo le Istituzioni facessero la loro parte fino in fondo!

We don't often hear about projects like AIDA in Italy. Would you tell us your point of view on the situation of green by bike routes in our country?

To tell the truth, there has been a slight improvement in the cyclo-tourist situation in the last 5-7 years: even only in the 2000s, cycling holidays were considered an eccentric phenomenon, a bit nineteenth-century somewhat like poor people.... quite the opposite of what happened in various European routes, able to generate hundreds of millions of induced every year.

Today, even in Italy the Cicloturismo is assumeing significant dimensions: if only for the thrust of the European cycle-tourists in Trentino Alto Adige, or for new phenomena such as the electric bike, which is expanding the audience of pedal-riders.

Fiab has done an excellent job since the dark years with the Bicitalia network project, recognized by the Ministry of Transport: AIDA is part of the project as a Bicitalia 20 route.
I believe it is also right to mention the VenTo project of the Polytechnic University of Milan, which is a project that we consider our ally and that has had the merit of lighting up the debate on National Cycles.

So we're late, but we could quickly recover given the beauties we can offer to the visitor on the saddle: if only the institutions did their part to the end!

Do you think this project could replicate itself in other places in Italy and if you were working on a second step?

We say that AIDA is not the first national cycle route, and it certainly will not be the last: as Fiab we are very committed to spreading similar projects also in the South, and on more complex routes such as the Apennines. It would be great to be able to participate in a fundraiser in that sense in a year!

The second step of AIDA is to demonstrate (as much as possible with the data) that the signs are able to attract cycle tourists, generating the first relevant induced.
Strengthened by these data, our institutional pressure will continue to see AIDA fully realized by the State ... and not only.

Why a crowdfunding campaign and what are the strengths of it?

Crowdfunding is an excellent pretext to get to know and get passionate about a project: in addition to the need to finance itself, we liked the idea of generating participation among citizens through a common Dream, even just to promote FIAB.

Our strengths could be: volunteers with different talents, an important non-profit organization to be our network, a simple idea that expands the cake for everyone ... and now everyone pushes on the pedals to realize this dream called AIDA!

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