The DÉFI VÉLO campaign to promote cycling among young people aims to present the bicycle as a trendy means of transportation, one that is healthy, cool, and good for the environment. At the same time, participants are meant to gain an awareness of safe cycling in traffic.
DÉFI VÉLO takes place throughout Switzerland and is open to all upper secondary schools (vocational schools, high schools, cantonal and secondary schools), recreation centers, and sports clubs.
The campaign takes place in two rounds in the form of a friendly cycling competition – the qualification round, or “Quali,” which takes place during the school year, and the “Final,” which takes place in June, for the teams which have qualified. During the 3-hour “Quali,” classes move through various checkpoints, each supervised by a qualified leader, and try to collect as many points as possible at each checkpoint to qualify for the final. In each stage, they learn about the many diverse aspects of getting around on two wheels: dexterity, traffic safety, bicycle mechanics, and bicycle culture (such as bike polo). Another thing which young people always enjoy is meeting a “cycling professional” whether that be a bike courier, a cyclist who has cycled around the world, or a bike taxi driver, and hearing about their cycling experiences.
Winners of the various qualification rounds take part in the final round. The “Final” takes place every June – one each in French-speaking Switzerland and in German-speaking Switzerland. Skill, team spirit, creativity and strategy are put to the test in this urban orienteering bike race. Many great prizes as well as the DÉFI VÉLO trophy await the finalist teams.
DÉFI VÉLO was first launched in Lausanne in 2011. Since then, it has established itself throughout French-speaking Switzerland and has expanded into German-speaking Switzerland, reaching over 6,000 young people each year.
More information about the campaign can be found here:
www.defi-velo.ch (in German and French only)