Thursday, June 24, 2021

World Bicycle Day: Paddling towards health and sustainable future

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race” — H G Wells

Learning to ride a bicycle is probably one of the fondest memories of one’s childhood. Trying to paddle and falling off numerous times, bicycles have taught a way of life, “To keep your balance, you must keep moving”.

In several parts of the world, cycling continues to be the main mode of transport, for instance, in Europe, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Did you know, India’s cycle industry is the 2nd largest in the world? Also, our country is the 3rd largest consumer of bicycles.

World Bicycle Day

The benefits of bicycles are aplenty. To name a few, they are simple, affordable, and eco-friendly. On grounds of its uniqueness and versatility, the United Nations General Assembly in April 2018, passed a declaration to observe June 3 as World Bicycle Day.

World Bicycle Day celebrates bicycles as a symbol of human progress, advancement, sustainability, social inclusion, and a culture of peace.

A bond unbreakable between Bicycle and human

Bicycles have long been a part of human being’s life. However, this relationship has seen a change over the years.

Our fathers and forefathers often recited stories when they cycled for kilometers to reach schools. It helped them reach places far-far off on time and with ease.

In the current scenario, people bicycle for hours to raise awareness regarding its benefits for the body and environment. It has become a symbol of hope and voice. Not just this, it is also inspiring artists and creative seekers. Ranjan Sahoo, an 18-year-old artist from Odisha crafted an 1870 model of a penny-farthing bicycle, using 3,653 matchsticks to celebrate World Bicycle Day this year.

Gone are the days when bicycles were just a way to reach from one place to another, in modern times, it has gained a new meaning. It has transformed from a means to an art, a medium to stay fit and healthy, and become a source of bonding and entertainment.

Promoting good habits, removing stigma

Bicycles in India have come a long way and surpassed a stigma that only the poor ride it. Thanks to our leaders, army officers, and celebrities, people have overcome this stigma and see it as a way of life.

Our ministers like Mansukh Mandaviya and Arjun Meghwal too routinely cycle to work. Even Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan has been seen enjoying bicycle rides.

Paddle for nature

Studies suggest that paddling a bicycle could help in saving the planet from climate change, as it reduces carbon footprint. It emits zero smoke or any other greenhouse gas, thus lowers its presence in the environment.

Not only that but it also saves natural resources and fuel in addition to being pocket-friendly.

Bicycling- A boon for the body

Bicycling is one of the best exercises to do. It keeps the heart healthy, maintains body flexibility and strength, and improves joint mobility. Moreover, cycling lowers stress and anxiety level in human beings.

Niti Aayog in its 2020 report on ‘Promoting Bicycles in India’ has said that cycling is partly the answer to asthma, obesity, diabetes, carbon footprints, traffic jams, and rising noise levels.

Dr. R R Singh, Director, Raghavendra Hospital explains how cycling is a great exercise for the body and mind. Cycling requires one to keep a balance, which involves the working of the brain.

An adventure sports

As mentioned above, cycling in modern times is not just restricted to transport but has become a mode of entertainment and relaxation too. Adventure sports like mountain biking, cyclotron, bicycle stunts, bicycle race have opened scope for adventure sports and competitions.

Facts related to bicycle

– Bicycle is the second-most important sustainable mode of transportation; the first being walking.

– In India, bicycles are not covered under Central Motor Vehicle Act and do not require licence, registration, road tax, and insurance. Cyclists are legitimate users of roads and the same traffic rules apply to them.

World Bicycle Day gives one an excuse to indulge in this healthy yet fun activity, that has been helping people socialise and stay fit, especially now during the pandemic.

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