Our members and committee work on a voluntary basis as one team to lobby in favour of cycling, safe transport infrastructure and sustainable commuting in Malta and Gozo.

Rota is composed of approximately 100 members and countless followers, each sharing their views, inspiring others to cycle, or contributing directly to solve mobility-related issues thanks to their expertise in the respective fields. From engineers to lawyers, architects, IT professionals, nurses, doctors, economists and accountants, managers and business people, social workers, students, educators, academics and researchers, artists, civil servants and politicians, we all come together as one in an attempt to shift the Maltese way of commuting.

The Committee

President

Daniel Vella

Daniel is a software developer working in cybersecurity, and a freelance photo/videographer. He has recently completed the M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Malta and will be graduating later on this year. He’s been exposed to the bicycle from a tender age, but it was only in 2018 that he purchased a pedelec and started commuting regularly by bicycle. It has changed his lifestyle, saved him countless of hours stuck in traffic, and it makes for a good ice-breaker when you arrive at your location with your bike. Daniel feels that the bicycle, while being more efficient than a car during the day when all streets are packed with cars, still forces him to slow down and not continuously drown in a false sense of urgency. A small island such as Malta makes for the perfect environment to implement truly sustainable mobility measures, yet we see time and time again this opportunity going to waste. Daniel hopes to inspire more people to cycle by making Malta a safer place to cycle.

mark-trapani
Vice President

Mark Trapani

Mark Trapani is a Chemistry & Biology graduate with a Masters degree in Creativity & Innovation. He is currently living in Ghent, Belgium where he works remotely with a local film company. Mark started cycling at a very young age, but back then the bicycle was more of plaything which used to be used on weekends in controlled environments. Midway through his university journey, Mark started cycling to university (a mere 20 minute ride) out of frustration of wasting time stuck in huge lines of traffic and not finding where to park. In 2019 he purchased a pedelec and just a few weeks ago sold his car, making him car-free for the first time in about 8 years. Other than cycling, Mark enjoys reading inspiring books, being in the outdoors photographing nature and running long distance. Mark is convinced that with Malta being the size of an average European city, cycling is truly the most efficient way forward.

Secretary General

Paolo Cassar Manghi

Paolo Cassar Manghi is a 25-year-old University student, currently pursuing a Master's postgraduate degree in Architecture and Urban Design. With earlier, vague memories on a bicycle, he hopped back on the saddle at the age of 13 to explore nature and the countryside. Discovering the Rota community in around 2013 helped him understand and use cycling as his daily means of transport from the rural south, starting with Junior College and even more during his University years. His place of work also shifted location two years ago, from a 10-minute walking distance away to a 35-minute cycling journey in Valletta, that he happily commutes each time.

In 2020, he bought a pedelec bicycle for greater flexibility to his needs. Paolo chooses either bike depending on his destination, distance, time of day, meeting clients, and even shopping or going out in the weekend, as traffic and parking issues are never a problem. In over 6 years since turning 18, he has not bought a car and does not intend to anytime soon. While possessing a driving licence, he does not own a car. The bicycle and rarely the bus remain his ways to move.

With everything that Paolo has learnt from the community, he now believes it is his time to contribute back to Rota. He hopes that his knowledge of roads, cycle routes and designing mock-ups of alternative and efficient allocations of space in street design, would help bring up national discussion on sustainable mobility and the climate, for change on our small island.

Paolo Cassar Manghi
Michael Petroni
Finance Officer

Michael Petroni

Michael comes from a science and policy background in the environmental field as a graduate with a BSc in Earth Systems and a Masters in Marine Ecosystem Management, with experience working in academia and government on sustainability challenges. He has been involved in statistical ecology research whilst applying the numbers and data to policy, first working on sustainable fisheries and conservation to climate action. First getting into cycling as a means of mobility when living in Ireland, either when cycling to work, running errands around the city of Galway or just exploring the country. Cycling proved to be an affordable way of getting around and was actually great fun. Through cycling he appreciated what wonders cycling does for your mental and physical health. A key passion for Michael is climate action, and so he found cycling to be a great solution to reduce his own carbon footprint. Also having experienced a lot of Europe, it became clear to him that cycling is very much a way of life for many European citizens and is convinced that this can be the case for Malta too. His interests also include sailing and rowing.

Public Relations Officer

Daniëlle Duijst

Daniëlle was born and raised in the Netherlands, but moved to Malta two years ago. She started cycling when she was around 4 years old and the first time she drove straight into the bushes across the street. However, she has never given up on cycling since.

Her dream for Malta is for it to be more accessible for cycling, walking and other alternative transport. She is still exploring the best ways for her to use the bicycle in hot and hilly Malta. In daily life, she works on researching and improving the User Experience of different Websites & Apps. She hopes to apply her creative skills at Rota as the Public Relations Officer.

Danielle Duijst
Daniel Ellul
Policy Officer

Daniel Ellul

Daniel is a person who wears several hats. Bass player in a local band, English Teacher and PhD candidate. He sees cyclo-commuting as not only an important element in solving the Maltese mobility crisis but also a great way to regenerate community spirit within local communities and as a way to solve health issues such as obesity and pulmonary issues.

Events Officer

Benjamin Flores Martin

Benjamin is a married man who is involved in youth ministry within the Archdiocese of Malta. Benjamin’s love for bicycles started on Christmas day when his parents gave him his first blue mountain bike at the age of 11. After a number of falls and a few bruises he learnt how to cycle and never looked back. As most young people at the age of 18 he started driving a car, however soon discovered that the car, which was meant to offer him freedom, was restraining him to countless hours locked in a metal box in traffic. Almost 3 years ago, Benjamin took the decision to go back on two wheels full time and now makes 95% of commutes by pedelec. It was a natural transition which allowed him to re-experience the freedom he once had, not only to ride but to be part of the local community in each village he travels to. He hopes to be able to contribute to the creation of sustainable and safe cycling infrastructure so that more people in Malta may enjoy community life in their our towns and villages. You will often see him see him riding with his faithful dog companion Nina.

Benjamin Flores Martin
Juan Buhagiar
Executive Committee Member

Juan Buhagiar

Juan is a Software Development Team Lead who graduated with a Masters in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Amsterdam. Juan learnt how to bike at the tender age of 19 when he was living in Groningen, the first dutch city to prioritize alternative transport instead of cars in the late 1960's. Biking became a way of life while living in different cities in the Netherlands thanks to the well planned biking infrastructure there. After some years in The Netherlands, Juan migrated back to Malta where he tries to commute using alternative transport as much as possible including the bicycle. Juan believes that a multi-modal approach fits best in Malta where the bicycle would be ideal transportation for short distances. Regardless of the local challenges, Juan thinks that Malta has a lot of advantages over other European cities namely the close proximity of many villages and the perfect climate.