M y name is Ylenia González. I’m a mother of a 12 year-old boy, I want to build a safe country for all kids. Six years ago, I discovered that the bicycle was the solution to all congestion traffic problems. Transport on bicycle promotes health while protecting the environment. I bike to work and use cycling for recreational purposes on weekends. I want to see more people using the bicycle as a means of transport. I record my daily travels, I do interviews and write articles to motivate others to use the bicycle. I organize bicycle tours to accompany the beginners to use the bicycle in different environments.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission is to create safe spaces and experiences with the aim of making people feel safe using the bicycle, offering information and orchestrating events—to collaborate and actively participate in every initiative and to have an sustainable, bicycle-friendly city.
What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?
1.High temperatures and lack of infrastructure are some of the reasons that discourage people from adopting the bicycle as a means of transportation. People use the car for convenience in short distances.
2.Businesses and employers don’t encourage their customers or employees to travel by bicycle.
3.The car as a means of transport is a symbol of social status. We need to change the mindset.
What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
Organize the Bike to Store Experience which consists in encouraging patrons to carry out their purchases on bicycle next to traffic, supporting local commerce.
Giving marketing support to Calles Humanas Initiative, focused on rapid implementation of bicycle facilities through non-profit organization.
Supporting Caguas a Pedal, Sunday road closures that create a secure space for riding the bicycle during which I will offer educational talks to motivate children to use the bicycle.
What can other cities learn from your city?
In Puerto Rico, thousands of cyclists go out on weekends, mostly for recreational and sporting reasons. These bicycle enthusiasts can also learn how to use the bicycle as transportation like they do in the city of Amsterdam.
We must ensure that road access is focused on the most vulnerable parts of the population, like our children, our disabled and our elderly.