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The bicycle has been around since the German draisine first came on the scene back in 1817. The term bicycle was later coined in France in the 1860s and has always served as trusty form of transport. The popularity of cycling has peaked and troughed over the years and now it seems that it is making a come a back through initiatives like Bike Wise as towns and cities realise the many benefits of cycling!
Over the month of February, New Zealand celebrated Bike Wise month. This saw thousands of kiwis ditching their cars and celebrating the environmentally friendly bicycle.
In Horowhenua and the greater Manawatu, we have pedalled to the pool, scavenged around the city, followed the Mayor on our bikes and the last Bike Wise event saw us cycling to the Cinema to enjoy a free movie.
A large number of countries are using similar promotions to Bike Wise month to get people “on their bikes”.
In France bikes are back! Not only does France hold the Tour de France, which see thousands of cyclist compete and even more people come to watch cycling, Paris also now promotes cycling through the world’s largest public bicycle rental program. Twenty-thousand stylish three-speeds are distributed among 1,450 rental stations throughout the city, available to subscribers at variable rates (rides under 30 minutes are free).
Copenhagen is another city that has a strong bike culture. In the Danish capital, over a third of the workforce gets to the office by bike. By some estimates, that’s more than 1 million kilometres pedalled every day! Citizens are encouraged to cycle through extensive cycle lanes, and a very hip webite copenhagencyclechic.com. This website tracks daily how many kilometres copenhagenites have cycled and also shows fashionable and glamorous cyclist in all types of weather.
In the small Californian town of Davis, it is said that there are more bikes than cars. Not only that, but its official motto is “Most bicycle friendly town in the world.” The entire month of May is dedicated to Cyclebration. They also have extensive cycle lanes which has reduced crashes by 31 percent.
So like Horowhenua, towns and cities all around the world are getting on their bikes to enjoy a “fitter faster, free” form of transport. So even though Bike Wise month draws to an end let’s take inspiration from other cities and stay cycling!
For more information on how to get started cycling, cycling routes, events, safety guides and more visit www.sportmanawatu.org.nz.