Pikala Bikes

Building a cycling culture and creating sustainable jobs with upcycled bicycles

Image courtesy of Pikala Bikes
Education: Adult
Mobility: Cycling
Waste: Repurposing
Waste: Recycling

When visiting Marrakech in 2014, Cantal Bakker was struck by youth unemployment, air pollution and the lack of sustainable tourism offerings. Originally from The Hague in The Netherlands, she envisioned the impact that bicycles could have as a more sustainable means of transport and an employment opportunity. Therefore, she returned to Morocco in 2016 to launch the Pikala bikes initiative, which has evolved into an educational centre, a sustainable delivery service and social institution expanding across multiple cities in Morocco.


Pikala Bikes is a powerful social project that promotes eco-friendly transportation and empowers Moroccan youths by teaching them road safety and bicycle mechanics, and providing them with job opportunities as tour guides and delivery drivers. Having evolved into a social, community-oriented institution, it is a multi-functional infrastructure initiative that simultaneously trains and employs local youth in the sustainable mobility sector.

Social Impact

Pikala Bikes offers opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged youth in Marrakech. Through bicycle mechanic training, tour guiding jobs and bike delivery roles, it provides employment and skills development for those with limited education or job prospects. Additionally, the initiative's provision of bicycles to rural students enables better access to education, offering a path towards a brighter future for disadvantaged communities in Morocco.

Environmental Impact

Pikala Bikes promotes bicycle usage as an eco-friendly mode of transportation, which helps to reduce harmful emissions and air pollution associated with motorised transport options. The initiative also fosters a culture of eco-consciousness and a healthier lifestyles among the local population, which can lead to reduced resource consumption and a lower carbon footprint over time. Furthermore, most of Pikala’s bicycles are abandoned in The Netherlands and imported for re-use, thus effectively upcycling unused materials.

Success Factors

Pikala Bikes was launched after it was successfully crowdfunded via the 1%club platform. The government of Morocco offered a rent-free space in which the Pikala Bikes Atelier could be operated. Since its foundation, the initiative has also received support from the Tui Care Foundation, The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and DHL.


Pikala Bikes has created multiple job opportunities for locals, as tour guides, deliverers, social project managers, as well as mechanics that actively train local youth and school dropouts. It has offered 2-month and 2-year trainings to hundreds of students since being launched. Pikala has also helped at least 270 rural students to access their schools by bicycle.


Pikala Bikes is expanding to other Moroccan cities, including Agadir, Rabat and Casablanca, showing that it addresses a growing demand across the country. One of its recent priorities has been the promotion of cycling amongst women, for whom it has begun to offer more trainings and workshops. 40% of Pikala’s employees and volunteers today are female, further contributing to the empowerment of women through cycling.


Though this continues to evolve, Moroccan cities are not fully equipped with important cycling infrastructure yet (e.g. bicycle lanes, bicycle parking racks, etc.). Furthermore, reduced tourism (for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic) has a negative impact on Pikala Bikes, which relies on tourists as an important source of revenue.

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Pikala Bikes

Started by Individual(s)
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