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Home – TAP and return, on bicycle

​In last April, within the scope of the celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, it was announced a protocol between TAP and the Sky Fitness gym. This protocol, among other advantages, offers TAP employees that ride a bicycle to the campus the opportunity to use the gym’s locker rooms.

Daniel Almeida, Horácio Ribeiro, João Filipe Henriques, Luís Filipe Marques e Valter Silva. There are the names of the five TAP employees that ride a bicycle to the campus, daily or regularly. WHAT’S|UP went to know their stories and shows here their faces.

“If I had a driver and a limousine to go to work, I wouldn’t be so happy”

Valter Silva is Cabin Interior Maintenance Mechanic and rides the bicycle to TAP mostly every day, where he works since 1998. The exceptions are the days where it rains heavily or when he needs to drive his children to school. Three years ago, he was the protagonist of a news report on SIC and, since then, little has changed.

Valter rides a bicycle as a routine for many years – he used to do it even before he worked at the Company –, before the shared bicycles and bicycles paths were a subject matter in Portugal. Besides the advantages that he considers obvious – such as environmental, economic and physical – he highlights the psychological effects that this routine brings on him: “a beautiful mental “depressurizing” and an investment in something he truly appreciates: tenacity”.

 

“With bad weather it’s more exciting, it turns the scenario more challenging in the ten kilometers that separate home from work”

Horácio Ribeiro is a member of the TAP family for 13 years and nowadays he works as a Quality Technician. He started riding the bicycle as a regular transport since circa 2006 and – with some routine changes meanwhile – since May of this year he goes to the campus on his bicycle every day, “whether it is good or bad weather”.

Considered the alternative ways, Horácio concluded that the bicycle is indeed the more advantageous means of transport to go to work. On one hand, driving the car brings along all the constraints of Lisbon traffic, the car it’s more polluting and it’s hard to park. On the other, public transports takes more than half an hour each path and, as everybody knows, in rush hour there’s too many people circulating. On a bicycle, he takes between 30 to 40 minutes, always on the bicycle path.

The choice wasn’t hard, even because, he says, “for those who work in ten kilometers from TAP, it doesn’t cost a thing”, it combats stress, it is a morning exercise routine – Horácio guarantees that, even with an electric bicycle, he does pedal anyway –, and there’s fun in the journeys.

 

“Transform what were for me the worst moments of the day, with all the daily traffic stress, in the best moments of the day!”

It was back in 2010 that João Filipe Henriques – who works at fleet engineering for a year and a half, of the 12 he already worked in the Company – started coming to work and going back home on a bicycle. Meanwhile, the bicycle earned a little chair at the front, where João brings his older son of three children to the kindergarten, once or twice a week.

Though the routine has been changed in the last years – mainly because of the birth of his children – João still finds the bicycle as the best transport. Besides the playful factor, which he considers fundamental, he also valorizes the “closer relation with the city” allowed by riding the bicycle and the independence from traffic and public transports schedules.

For those who already think about this subject, João assures that it’s easier than it seems. For those who don’t feel comfortable on riding a bicycle, he suggests MUBI – Association for Urban Mobility by Bicycle and his project Bike Buddy.

 

“I challenge you to try it and quickly you’ll see an improvement on your physical condition”

Luís Filipe Marques lives 44 kilometers from TAP, where he works since 1991. He uses the bicycle once or twice a week, on his path on returning home, and mostly in the Summer, when the days are bigger.

The reasons to justify are simply his pleasure on riding a bicycle, the lack of time to dedicate to outdoor physical activities and the stress relief, for obvious physical and mental advantages. Luís considers this means of transport as undoubtedly less stressful than any other more “conventional” one, as well as it is the healthiest one.

 

“Riding a bicycle is essentially a sense of freedom”

Daniel Almeida arrived at TAP in the beginning of this year, to integrate the User Experience Design team. Since March he rides a bicycle to the campus, every day, 16 kilometers each day. He has done the math to the time and money and concluded that, living in the center of Lisbon, not only he spends way too less time on the journey, he also spends less money, while he saves the environment and wins on energy and good humor.

Daniel enhances the freedom factor – “Freedom because I’m not limited by public transports, by strikes, by the constant problems on the subway lines or suspended buses, because I can simply pass by a supermarket and buy dinner on my way home doing a little detour, going to the doctor and don’t have the worry of studying the public transports or the traffic/parking in case I would go by car” – and the wind on the face against the suffocation of a car, a bus or the metro.

 

Parking, showers, safety and kits for cyclists at TAP?

Questioned about what can companies do, particularly TAP, to incentive and support the employees who ride a bicycle to work, everyone gave ideas, some of them common between the five of them, others more “original”. The answers to these questions would easily compose, by itself, material for only one article.

What’s common to all of them is the subject about a proper parking for the bicycles, in sheltered and safe zones, all over the campus. The possibility of taking a shower at the campus – for those who don’t have locker rooms at their services – could also incentive a lot of people to choose this means of transport. João Filipe Henriques goes further and suggests that could be available some keys kits, air pumps and patches to repair any small issues that could appear. Luís Filipe Marques, on his turn, suggests still the acquisition of bicycles by TAP for the employees to ride inside the campus and, eventually, even partnering with ANA to create conditions for that employees who work on the airside could go to the airplanes by bicycles.

In conclusion, all agree that TAP had much to win with the use of bicycles by more employees, both for the positive impact on the persons themselves and their health and welfare, and for the reduction of the cars impact – circulation and parking – on the campus.

 

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