Friday, September 25, 2009

Are you a good bike rider?

Two days ago I saw on TV a new iniative from both the Catalan Traffic Department and the local government, mainly addressed to kids, which aims at teaching them the rules for cycling in different environments.

The initiative has the shape of a website called "Bicicla't" (Bicycle yourself) , which is an invented verb that would mean -as far as I understand- "teach yourself to cycle". And one of the best ways to teach oneself to cycle is not really being aware that you are learning but actually doing so. For children, the best way to learn is undoubtably by playing.

"Bicicla't" is then a game of good cycling practices. Basically, you have to choose a character to play (boy or girl) with, choose the appropriate bycicle and equipment and then begin cycling. As you do all this, you get hints, tips, advices (on a purple or green square) and warnings (on a green square) if you do something wrong. The pity is that it is only available in Catalan, but anyway, I hope that if I give you some basic info you can play too (most is common sense and knowing about cycling is a plus :D) .

As I have said, first of all you need to choose who will ride the bike, decide

1- Which character would you like to play with.
2- Which bike is the most suitable for cycling the city. There is only one possibility and if you don't get it right, a pop-up tells you "This bike is aimed at X". When you get the right kind of bike, another pop-up displays and you only need to click "Seguir" (Continue).


3- Choose the tools and equipment you need. Again, if you do not choose all the necessary things, a pop-up message says "Are you sure you don't forget anything?" and lists the important equipment and tools you did not choose.


4- Check your bike. Once you check it completely they advise you to look at the weather forecast in green bold letters. Now you are ready to play: you just need to click "RevisiĆ³ feta" (Checkup completed).


5- Play! :) There are two stages in the game: cycling the city to meet the character's friends and cycling in the countryside to get to "Can Cicleta", a house in the country. Controls are fairly intuitive: arrow keys to move the bike (down arrow key to brake), Z key to signal you wish to turn left, C key to signal you wish to turn right X key to ring the bell, n key to stop and answer the mobile phone, b key to drink, v key to turn on the lights. All through the game you get advice, recognition if you do something well and warnings if you make a mistake.

Cycling the city

Oups!! I rode too close to the man and the dog!

Cycling outside the city

Cycling at dusk or at night

After exploring and playing a little bit with the game, I can say that I hope the project succeeds. I think the game, within its limits, is very complete: children learn about the kind of bikes that exist and what they are used for, they learn the names of the different equipment and why it is necessary, they realize how important it is to check the bike and learn a good code of cycling practices. And they will have fun (I have fun with the game and I am 25...).

And there is even more than that: the game is highly educative and realistic, as the situations the children will have to sort out in there, are the same they will face out in the street. (I swear I experience that in Barcelona everyday...I think they made a field study there...it's so like Barcelona!) . Besides, with it they have looked ahead at a more car-free society, of a more clean city and, most importantly, it shows children ("our future") that cycling is a good option to move around. If this children see that now and learn how to cycle properly, there is a big chance they will do so when they grow up.

My congratulations to the government and the Catalan Traffic Department.

I really like this game. I hope you do too. Have fun!

Anna from BCN

PS: Do not hesitate to ask for any translation!


Bicicla't: http://www.biciclat.cat
More on kids and bikes in this blog: read anna's posts on the subject, dating 12/7/09 and 01/09/09

3 comments:

l' homme au velo said...

It is good I like it, but I get the uneasy feeling of to much Big Brother Interference by the Government. To much Rules and Regulations,Cycling should be free and Easy,it should be made enjoyable. To much over Emphasis on Equipment and Fear Mongering it is liable to Frighten People away from Cycling. we have had to much of that lately From Governments and also Pro Motoring Organisations Scare Mongering the People back into Cars. They would rather you Spend Loads on Cars and Petrol,they Love all that Tax.

anna said...

Seems very interesting to me. Will have to try it out (if I can understand it all). Thanks for introducing it!

Bike Cycling Reviews said...

Wow! This is something new to learn. I would give a try for sure.

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