World Bicycle Day was first celebrated in 2018 by the United Nations, just over 200 years after the first verified bicycle was invented by Karl von Drais. The purpose of celebrating this day is to highlight and encourage alternative means of transportation and healthy living.
For those of us that race bikes or complete triathlons, it’s valuable to remind ourselves that the bike is more than just a vehicle for sport. Now more than ever, cycling popularity seems to have skyrocketed across all demographics. As the world tries to figure out a way to return to a new normal amidst COVID-19, more people are getting on bikes. I would argue it has been a way for people to care for their physical and mental health, spend time with family and commute, all while respecting social distancing guidelines.
It has been observed across much of North America that more people are buying bikes, making repairs to old ones, and riding more than ever before. With the increase in cycling traffic, governments have noticed the demand for improved cycling infrastructure and green spaces. Recently, the City of Toronto put in place the ActiveTO program as a way to increase active lifestyles and transportation, while respecting social distancing guidelines. As part of this program, the city has scheduled quiet road times and locations, as well as road closures to allow for safe cycling, running and walking. As part of ActiveTO, Toronto City Council also approved plans to expand the on-street bike lane network, adding approximately 25km to the existing network.
So, on this day and the days to come, enjoy the pleasures of riding safely. Continue to advocate for healthy active living and improved accessibility for all. Here a few things you can do on World Bicycle Day:
- Take your bike in for a tune-up. Several bike shops have opening hours during the week to serve the community.
- Plan a socially distancing ride. Please, respect the current guidelines in place. For more information refer to national and provincial guidelines. Canadian Cycling Magazine has a resource online as well.
- Remember to clean your bike, to help keep your ride riding smoothly.
- Take a photo and share your adventures with friends.
- Go for a coffee ride. Many of our coffee shops now have takeout hours. So head out on your bike and make sure to stop off for a cup of coffee and something sweet.
- Encourage others to get on their bikes as a way to get in some physical activity.
- Be safe. Wear reflective clothing and have bike lights.