Season 1: Episode 7

JP Amaral talks about Transforming a City, one story at a time

In a short ten years, the perception of biking in the Brazilian city of São Paulo went from impossible to obvious.  Streets went from forbidding cycling to welcoming them with new bike lanes and a bike-sharing program.

In today’s program, I talk to JP Amaral who has been on the front lines of bike activism throughout this transformation.  He joined critical mass rides back in 2007, where large numbers of cyclists took to the streets one evening each month to show the city that cyclists exist.  In 2010 he helped found Bike Anjo, an organization that matches up people looking to learn biking with people who are able to help show new cyclists the ropes.  And between 2015 – 2016 he lived in Berlin, Germany learning about bike infrastructure and advocacy in Europe.

Now back in Brazil we talk about how storytelling has changed as cycling has gone from being inconceivable to the majority of people living in São Paulo, to being adopted as a normal part of daily life.


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JP’s Biggest Lessons Learned


  1. Join Forces:  Connect your cause with other causes
  2. Strategize:  Act with strategy, not just with the heart
  3. Think Beyond Conflict:  Think of ways of furthering the dialogue beyond protest
  4. Innovation is Key:  As things change, you need to think of new ways of communicating

Learn More

Bike Anjo, now in 28 countries and over 500 cities.
São Paolo bike map. with over 74 miles of bike lines.
JP Amaral at TEDxTombo, 2011 (in Portuguese)