Mama Agatha got an e-bike

Published: 6 October 2022

Mama Agatha says: “The bicycle is good for everyone.” And she’s proved it!

In the outskirts of Amsterdam, Mama Agatha has changed the lives of more than 3000 migrant women by teaching them to ride a bike, giving them freedom, independence, and confidence and enabling them to participate in the best way to move in The Netherlands: by bike! 

Thanks to her, a new life opens up for each student, with mothers and grandmothers able to join their children and grandchildren on wheels in their community for the first time, and access education, employment, and other essential things they need to live connected lives in their new home.

On teaching women to ride, Mama Agatha says: “If you are working with people you have to raise them up.” Fact is, after the cycling lessons, all her students get a Dutch bike for free.

At 68 years old, she continues her voluntary work raising people up through cycling and sewing skills and other community programs. 

We met her as one of the activities at the summer course Planning the Cycling City 2022 at Amsterdam University.

mama agatha and the students from the summer course Planning the Cycling City
Students and Mama Agatha, July 2022

While she may be tireless, her legs are not, and she has some difficulty riding a bike now.  

She asked us for an electric bike one so she can comfortably reach more places and keep up the incredible pace at which she meets the requests of anyone who needs guidance, assistance, or inspiration. Her knees are getting painful and with an e-bike she can still do here important work.

We organized an online crowd-funding (at WhyDonate). Azul (a student from Mexico) was in charge of making the video so people would know about Mama Agatha (as she likes being called).  And Karen (from Australia) wrote the intro.  All the other students from Japan, China, USA, Canada, France, Iran, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Ireland, etc helped the petition reach more people.

Mama Agatha says: “Don’t let your stress or sadness hold you back. Stand firm, be strong, and things will be alright for you.”

Some months later, she has a brand new e-bike!

While we were raising the money to buy it, Marco Te Brömmelstroet made a few contacts and found a donor. The beautiful e-bike that Cortina offered as a gift was handed to her at the 6th Annual Meeting of the Cycling Research Board in Amsterdam, last Oct 6th.

Mama Agatha is remarkable not just for her commitment to her community, her initiatives to connect and empower others, her energy, and her results, but also for the openness and vulnerability with which she shares her own story of trauma and resilience, and the force of the love she radiates to everyone she meets.

She reminds the people in the Netherlands, that biking is the only mode of transport that improves peoples’ health at the same time. 

I wish we could all have people like Mama Agatha in our countries, and of course safe bike infrastructure everywhere.

We are very grateful for having met Mama Agatha.    

If you want to know more about her, watch this short film and see the faces of women riding for the first time.

If you have curiosity on what happened to the money raised, we gave it to her. She said she will help the orphanage and the needy and also visit her country of origin Ghana.  

Thanks to everyone that helped

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