World Bicycle Day 2020: Cycling towards the greener futures

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World Bicycle Day 2020: Cycling Towards The Greener Futures - We The World Magazine
Photo by Jonny Kennaugh on Unsplash

The United Nations (The General Assembly) declared 3rd June as ‘World Bicycle Day’ in 2018. This year we are celebrating the third anniversary of World Bicycle Day. If you are wondering why of all things we are celebrating ‘Bicycle Day’, let us ask ourselves, why not?

A very reliable mode of transport, the Bicycle is widely popular around the world. It is tough, durable, eco-friendly, cheap, and affordable. Many people are pestered with the nagging thought as to how they can contribute to a cleaner, greener world. Well, starting with simple switches in our daily lives is a great way, isn’t it? Like using a cycle instead of fuel-run vehicles to take short trips.

Conscious use of biodegradable products instead of plastic ones, recycling water, saving electricity are a few new-gen concepts that have been popularized as our world is constantly battling to cope up with the global warming and pollution crisis.

Large European cities like London, Brussels, Geneva are investing in cycling infrastructure (Photo by Jordan on Unsplash)

In view of these issues, global organizations like the UN are constantly trying to spread awareness in the world by popularizing various ‘days’ so that we can observe it unitedly.

Cycling backward

It is quite a complicated journey to determine the actual creator of a bicycle. Steel wheels, pedals, and a frame to hold the rider was the basic concept that gave shape to the modern cycle. After much experimentation and failures, we have what we call a cycle or bicycle today. It will take a full article to thank all those wonderful minds who initiated the design. So here we take the opportunity to thank each and every person who contributed in any way for the making of the cycle. Take a look at the evolution of the simple bicycle.

History of the bicycle day: the heartfelt efforts of some campaigners under the leadership of Professor Leszek Sibilski from the US swelled in proportion and many countries came together to support the declaration of a World Bicycle Day initiated by the UN.

A bicycle symbolizes frugality and sustainability. It was specifically designed to call the world to be united in terms of making a conscious effort to save the earth. Increased awareness of the use of bicycles could significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

Image of a 1886-model quadracycle for two. White House in the Background (Image source: Commons)

The cycle is also a symbol of unity and acceptance. The world is one in spite of all the outward differences. Humans share the same fate when confronted with nature. It can also be used to denote a more inclusive society where people respect each other and embrace and celebrate differences. Hence the blue and white logo of World Bicycle Day is nothing but a gentle reminder that we are one and we are responsible for our planet together as a race.

Cycling to present

The United Nations in tandem with the current environmental movement encourages member-states to consider developing bicycling infrastructure. Countries are racing to reach the next level of sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. However, not all countries have appropriate and safe cycling lanes.

As a part of their sustainability developments, safer and better cycling pathways must be encouraged. Member-states are urged to include bicycles in their sustainable mobility planning and designing.

The United Nations in assosiation with the EU-partner nations is pushing for a better and sustainable mobility develpment by encouraging safer cycle lanes among others (Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash)

For instance, the coronavirus crisis has led the EU to develop strategies for post-COVID-19 mobility that is safer, and better for the environment and humans. UN notes, with a drastic fall of public transportation many big European cities, have documented increasing use of bicycles.

Fresher air, thanks to less pollution; clearer skies and songs of birds have increased the joy of riding cycle manifolds. Plus the social distancing perk. Big cities like Milan, London, Brussels, Geneva are reportedly investing in Flexi biking lanes.

Stigma?

Some Asian societies have come a long way from the past. But some are still struggling is with its age-old beliefs and high sense of class. Say for instance Indian culture. The concept of cycling is somewhat related to be a vehicle of the ‘lower class.’ Although youngsters use cycles to commute here and there a grown-up office going-suited-booted man taking a cycle to reach his multinational office building is a sight we hardly see.

In India, cycling is often attached to marginalized sections of society by the older generation. However, younger generation is increasingly breaking the stigmas (Photo by Praniket Desai on Unsplash)

Perhaps, here is where the normalization of the use of cycles is required. We must embrace the benefits of cycling and teach our future generation to opt for sustainable choices without any class consciousness.

Of course it goes without saying, cycling is not always a feasible option for all times, but when it is, we must not step back to use it just because it is not mainstream.

Benefits?

Cycling, apart from being green for the planet is also green for the body. Lik other physical-intensive practises, cycling has some great health perks:

  • Improved health
  • Improved flexibility and muscle power
  • Better joint mobility
  • Improvement in depression and anxiety
  • A decline in fat levels
  • Helps with poor postures
  • Reduced risk of diseases like diabetes, breast cancer, among others

Happy World Cycle Day. May we be able to cycle away our differences for a better future.