Every year on June 3rd, the world celebrates World Bicycle Day. All of us have learnt to ride a bicycle in our childhood. We fell, hurt ourselves, but still managed to ride it after all. Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. Cycling not only improves physical activity but also cuts fuel consumption. World Bicycle Day acknowledges this and the durability and longevity of the bicycle. It is a simple and sustainable means of transportation, rejuvenates our physical and mental health, and good for the economy and environment.
There are several reasons why the United Nations established World Bicycle Day. The primary reason is that it is quite transformative – Bicycle is an affordable and eco-friendly means of travel.
History of World Bicycle Day:
It all started when the U.S. based Professor Leszek Sibliski initiated a grassroots campaign with his sociology class to promote a U.N. resolution that would designate a date for the advocacy and celebration of the bicycle all over the world. In February 2015, the movement began when Professor Sibliski wrote a blog post for the World Bank titled ‘Cycling is Everyone’s Business.’
In February 2016, the movement gained momentum as Professor Sibliski wrote another blog post for the World Bank titled ‘Why is there no World Day for the Bicycle?’ In March of the same year, he spoke at the Scientists for Cycling Colloquim at Taipei and argued for World Bicycle Day. Two years later, on April 12, 2018, the United Nations finally acknowledged and officially designated June 3 as World Bicycle Day.
Traditions of World Bicycle Day:
The traditions of this day include cleaning up the bicycles that have been locked up and taken for a spin with friends and family. Many people use the bicycle as a means of commuting on this day, while others consider buying one as a daily mode of transportation.
If we go by the numbers, then here are some numbers :
- 12.4%- the percentage of all Americans who cycle regularly.
- 35 seats- the number of seats on the longest tandem bike ever.
- 67 feet- the length of the longest tandem bike ever built.
- 364,000- the number of bicycles produced daily.
- $6.2 billion- the estimated size of the U.S. bicycle market.
- 47,670- the number of bicycles sold daily.
- 2.5x- the production numbers by which bicycles are higher than for cars.
- 9 out of 10- the number of people in Denmark who own a bicycle.
- 15 million- the number of bicycles discarded by owners every year.
- 18%- the percentage of bicycles imported by the UK.
The countries that use bicycles for commuting are China, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Netherlands.
Health Benefits of cycling
The health benefits provided by cycling are also immense. If we cycle regularly, we can experience increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility, decreased stress levels, improved posture and coordination, strengthened bones, decreased body fat levels, prevention or management of disease and reduced anxiety and depression.
Finally, how can we encourage World Bicycle Day among people?
Some of the activities that we can do to encourage this day are as follows:
- Plan a trip – We can plan short trips with our family and friends and enjoy the day cycling around the city and its outskirts.
- Acknowledge the worldwide celebration – Making sure to acknowledge this healthy day.
- Join a nearby cycling community or group to explore the city, new place in your town or village.
- Cycling is a great activity with social distancing in the pandemic. Have you been able to get out on your bicycle recently? If not, then world bicycle day is the day.