My name is Sophia Philippidou and I am involved in the tourism industry in Loutraki. I have been cycling all my life. I strongly believe that cycling is the best solution for medium sized cities such as Loutraki. By using bikes, you get a quality of life, good health, both mental and physical, reduce pollution and noise, and increase safety in streets. We need to see more local people in Loutraki going about their daily activities on a bicycle, normalizing this mode of transportation for work, leisure, and school.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission is to change culture towards bicycle in the city of Loutraki through seminars in schools and placemaking activities. Furthermore, it is important to encourage tourists and locals to appreciate the beauty of the area and the importance of cycling that creates healthier, happier and more human-centric cities.
What are the obstacles and challenges you are facing in your city?
The most important obstacle, but at the same time a challenge, is the change of bike culture in the community. Furthermore, the total lack of infrastructure is another obstacle. It will take some time and a lot of effort to actually create the first network of bike lanes in the city.
What are the next steps now that you are the bicycle mayor?
My next step is to contact Loutraki municipality, Perfecture of Peloponesse, and the Ministry of Transport and Environment to ask for their cooperation on both political and technical levels. Also, I will also contact local companies for their cooperation and support. When I gain this support, the focus will be on changing the general culture towards bikes and will begin with students and children.
What lesson can your city teach others?
Loutraki is a sport city and the bicycle is a part of it.