My name is Maarten Tjallingii – I was born in 1977 in Friesland and raised in Mozambique where I started riding my BMX around Maputo. I was brought up riding bikes, to school, to go shopping, and to race with my friends. I bought my first road bike for summer training next to speed-skating. Then I caught the bike virus and started mountain biking as well. I won the first race I entered. From there my cycling career took off. I ended it well in 2016 on with a blue jersey during the Giro d’Italia in Arnhem.
Nowadays my garage holds 14 bikes, we love to ride as a family. I have travelled all continents with my bike, in competition, holidaying & commuting. I have raced many nationalities and won a bicycle race in Burkina Faso. The Tour the France is my favorite summer outing. It goes without saying that bikes are part of my life.
Since I quit my professional cycling career in 2016 I have engaged in many activities to promote cycling and career development for youngsters. Along the way I have learnt that the bike has so many stories to tell. Most recently the story of awareness building for climate change with policy makers of the Netherlands. Countering climate change is a race against the clock, in our particular race we covered 375 km in a day along the so-called new coastline in the Netherlands.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission is to connect people and projects in the region, but also to connect with national initiatives like #gezondegeneratie. My main objective as a Bicycle Mayor will always be to bring people together that focus on the same goals. I was always a team player and will always be a team player. If I know people who can add value to a project, you will know them too. I am looking forward to many more bike projects.
What are the obstacles and challenges you are facing in your city?
In my region we face a big challenge in making sure people move enough. We see people exercising less and less. The bicycle could really make a difference and turn this around. Also for decades it is considered normal that every kid can ride a bike but nowadays that isn’t the case. One of my main challenges would be to alter this trend.
What are the next steps now that you are the bicycle mayor?
For the near future I will focus my activities in promoting cycling on three areas:
CLIMATE CHANGE: The importance to make a change towards cleaner mobility to save the world. Ride bikes!
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE: Riding a bike is beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. First project is to promote cycling at schools.
LEARN FROM A PRO: Promotion of bike skills, for everyone – new riders, e-riders, talented riders. In bike clinics and events.