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03-06-2024 | Wouter Fioole

It's World Bike Day

Although for most of our readers every day might feel like cycling day, today has a special focus on cycling worldwide. The United Nations has declared June 3 as World Cycling Day. While avid road and gravel cyclists or MTBers may not be the UN's primary target audience, it's still a good opportunity to reflect on the broader impact of cycling.

World Bike Day celebration

Cycling more often improves health and helps the climate in a simple way. So today might be a good time to think about whether you are indeed contributing to that.

Why World Bike Day?

Choosing the bike instead of the car is a simple way to get enough exercise, travel cheaply, and help the environment by emitting less. According to the UN, the bicycle contributes to making the world a better place in numerous ways.

"It encouraged stakeholders to emphasize and advance the use of the bicycle as a means of fostering sustainable development, strengthening education, including physical education, for children and young people, promoting health, preventing disease, promoting tolerance, mutual understanding and respect, and facilitating social inclusion and a culture of peace."

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Without wishing to pass judgment, it is good from time to time to reflect on the question of to what extent we as cycling enthusiasts are really contributing to this.

Climate

For example, last weekend I myself spent over eight hours in the car to ride a gran fondo that I finished in less than four and a half hours. And - unfortunately - a lot of food packages ended up on the roadside. Certainly not always on purpose, but nevertheless. Also, cycling friends regularly load their MTBs onto the car to drive to the forest for a round of cycling. Does this really help the climate? Perhaps you can do something with the following tips:

  1. Only when you leave your car at home (because you get on your bike) do you really contribute to a better environment. So think about whether you can schedule your workouts and rides as commutes.
  2. Repair your gear instead of buying new. Perhaps these articles we wrote earlier will help with this:
  3. Look for events closest to home and also check out your local association's sportives.

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Safety and infrastructure

A major concern of the UN is that there should be sufficient attention to good infrastructure for cyclists. The bicycle highways in Belgium are a fantastic example of this. There, cyclists are getting applause and cookies today to celebrate being on bikes. Perhaps it is time to rethink this in other countries as well. For several years in a row now, the number of traffic accidents involving a cyclist has been increasing by 15%. This is also because more cyclists are going faster on average. Not only electric bikes, but also racing bikes. Are you really contributing to safe traffic? At least ride with a good bell and good lighting. And think again about how you behave in traffic.

Cyclists on a dedicated bike lane

Tolerance and respect

An important aspect for the UN is that cycling contributes to greater tolerance and mutual respect. I wonder if this is really true among cyclists. How often do you annoy other traffic and make misbehaving remarks to other road users? How often do you squeeze in anyway to finish your Strava segment?

Sitting on the road bike or MTB a lot and often does not automatically mean that we are also doing good for the environment and each other. It is good to think about this - perhaps literally - on World Cycling Day.

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