World Bicycle Day 2021: Amazing Facts About Most Eco-Friendly Pedal Machine!
How many of us remember the first challenging physical activity we as kids ever learn to master? We all remember, isn’t it? Riding a bicycle. A running start, the protective hand (usually of father) secured to the bicycle seat released and then the kid is off and pedaling. In fond memory of that very first trip, let’s have a closer look at World Bicycle Day, 3rd June 2021.
History of World Bicycle Day
Everyone will agree to the fact that we cherish fond memories of bicycle-learning days despite all the falls and injuries. With emerging awareness among the global population on the pollution menace, cycling is gaining momentum and becoming rage among youth. Cycling is also a recommended health exercise with enormous benefits. It cuts on fuel expenses, reduces harmful emissions by the fuel-based vehicles and reduces road accidents.
United Nations recognizes the benefits associated with bicycle and designated 3rd June as World Bicycle Day on April 12, 2018. It all began when a US professor Leszek Sibilski started a grassroot campaign with his sociology class. He advocated a U.N. resolution on celebrating and dedicating a day for promoting the bicycles world-over. In 2015, Sibilski initiated a project exploring bicycles and its role in development. The project catapulted into a massive movement and eventually resulted in a dedicated international day set by the United Nations.
Major Cycling Events
Cycling has evolved from a simple hobby to a major sporting event globally. Various cycling events and tournaments world over attracts thousands of professionals and amateurs. Here is a small round up of some of the toughest and biggest professional road cycling events from across the globe.
Tour De France
A part of three European Grand Tours, Tour De France is the most famous & prestigious multi-stage race in the world. Top racers across countries mandatorily participate in the largest annual event held every year in France. The race was first held in 1903 and is the most sought-after trophy in the world of cycling.
Giro d’Italia is a highly reputed European race and the 2nd most difficult race to win that’s primarily held in Italy. The race also passes through neighboring countries with deadly strings of climbs through the Alps & Dolomites and a few fearsome dirt roads in Tuscany. The race is generally held in May or June over a period of 23 days with no fixed routes.
Vuelta a Espana
The 3rd famous European Grand tour, La Vuelta a Espana was established in 1935 and has a more interesting and original route composition than the other two. It is held towards the end of summer around August-September. The modern editions of the Vuelta a Espana consist of 21 day-long stages over a 23-day period that includes 2 rest days.
UCI Road World Championships
The UCI Road world championship is the annual even organized by Union Cycliste Internationale or the UCI. It takes place in a different location every year with varying routes. The championship is a single day event unlike the grand tours.
The Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France & the UCI World Road Race Championship combines are major titles in season. The cyclist is rewarded Triple Crown of Cycling for winning all three titles in same season. So far, only cyclists Eddy Merckx and Stephen Roche have won the coveted crown in the history.
Paris – Roubaix
The Paris–Roubaix is a one-day competition that runs from northern Paris and ends at Belgium border. It is one of the oldest cycling events. The Paris Roubaix is listed as one of the monuments or in simple words classics of the European calendar. The race contributes points towards the UCI World Rankings. It is famously known as “Queen of the Classics” or “Hell of the north” for its rough terrain and cobblestones.
Amazing Fun Facts
As we celebrate World Bicycle Day, here are a few amazing fun facts that you might not know about your beloved past-time.
The First Bicycles Were Called Velocipedes
The primitive, pedal-less and un-steerable wooden precursors to bicycles emerged at the end of 18th century. In 1818, a person named Baron von Drais received patent for a device with a padded saddle and a steerable front wheel. The patent was filed under the name of Velocipede. The term bicycle was first coined in 1869.
The First Geared Bicycle Was Called the Ariel
In 1871, first geared bicycle was made by James Starley leading to a huge leap forward in the history of cycling. He named it as Ariel, the gear system utilised technology from three different patents. Although the gears were added, the ride was not easy one. The riders had to stop, dismount, take off the wheel, flip it around & reattach it.
The Fastest Bicycle Speed Would Blow Away Most Sports Cars
Can you imagine a bicycling zooming past you at a whopping speed of 183.9 mph? Believe it or not, but its true. In 2018, a 45-year-old lady by the name Mueller Korenek demolished previous record that stood since 1995. She holds the world record for the fastest human being ever to ride a bicycle on open ground. In the last mile of her pedalling, she averaged a phenomenal 183.9 mph, a speed reserved only for supercars.
The World’s Longest Race is not Tour De France
We all know about the Tour de France, the gruelling, 2162 miles long world’s toughest cycle race. But do we know that the Russian cyclin event The Trans-Siberian Extreme is the World’s longest race? The participants in the Trans-Siberian extreme traverses the biggest country in the world in about 25 days. The entire route covers an astounding 9,103 kms which is over 5,656 miles.
The Netherlands Is the World’s Per Capita Bicycle Capital
A country that is obsessed with bicycling or biking – that’s what Netherland is known as. The European nation of Netherlands boasts tens of thousands of miles of dedicated bicycle paths. Not just that, it also has another thousands more miles of bicycle lane on roads shared with cars. The country has a population of 17 million and a total bicycle of 22.5 million which is 1.3 bicycles per day.
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