World Bicycle Day

World Bicycle Day Quick Facts - ZA

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2024 Date3 June 2024
2025 Date3 June 2025

World Bicycle Day

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World Bicycle Day History

World Bicycle Day is a global observance that celebrates the bicycle's role in promoting health, sustainable transportation, and a cleaner environment. It aims to encourage the use of bicycles as a means of fostering sustainable development, strengthening education, promoting physical activity, and improving the overall quality of life for all people. In South Africa, where urbanisation, pollution, and traffic congestion are growing concerns, this day highlights the importance of incorporating cycling into everyday life and serves as a reminder of the potential benefits of increased bicycle usage.

World Bicycle Day was officially designated by the United Nations (UN) in 2018, following a proposal by Turkmenistan's President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The UN recognised the affordability, reliability, and eco-friendliness of bicycles and declared its potential for enabling access to education, healthcare, and sport. In South Africa, urban planners and numerous NGOs have been working to improve cycling infrastructure, promote bike-sharing programs, and raise awareness about the advantages of cycling for a healthy lifestyle, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

The observance of World Bicycle Day in South Africa is celebrated with bike rides, workshops, and awareness campaigns that organised by local governments and NGOs. These initiatives not only highlight the bicycle's relevance in confronting modern-day challenges, but also encourage a shift in mobility habits for a better future. World Bicycle Day takes place every year on June 3rd, serving as an annual opportunity to celebrate the bicycle and its potential for positive change in South Africa and beyond.

World Bicycle Day facts

  • Bicycles convert about 98% of the energy a person exerts into forward motion, making them more energy-efficient than any other means of transportation.
  • It is estimated that there are over one billion bicycles worldwide, outnumbering cars by more than two to one.
  • The credit for inventing the first pedal-powered bicycle, known as the "velocipede" or "boneshaker," goes to Karl Drais, a German baron, who introduced it in 1817.
  • The Cape Town Cycle Tour, an annual race held in South Africa, is the largest timed cycling event in the world. The event has a rich history dating back to 1978 and attracts over 35,000 cyclists from around the globe.
  • South Africa is home to a plethora of mountain biking trails, catering to riders of all skill levels. Popular destinations for mountain biking include the Western Cape, with its vast network of single tracks in areas like Jonkershoek and Helderberg, as well as the Eastern Cape's Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area and the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal.

Top things to do in South Africa for World Bicycle Day

  • Go cycling! Cycling can be a great form of exercise that benefits both mental and physical health.
  • Make your bike is properly maintained. Regular maintenance is an important part of cycling that can be done at home or a bike shop.
  • Watch a documentary about biking in South Africa. Here are our top picks:
    1. Bicycle Portraits (2010) - This is a documentary series that highlights the everyday lives of South African bicycle riders, their reasons for cycling, and the various types of bicycles they use.
    2. Pedal The World: An African Bicycle Adventure (2019) - This documentary follows Felix Starck as he explores Africa on his bicycle, with parts taking place on the continent.
    3. The Ride of Your Life (2017) - This short film captures the beauty and intensity of South Africa's Cape Town Cycle Tour, one of the largest timed cycling events globally.
  • Celebrate World Bicycle Day by participating in a Soweto Bicycle Tour. Explore the historic township of Soweto in Johannesburg on a guided bicycle tour. These tours often include visits to local attractions like the Hector Pieterson Memorial, Nelson Mandela House, and the Orlando Towers.

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