World Bicycle Day: COVID-19 pandemic has revived cycling
The COVID-19 pandemic has made us value health more than ever and as such, many of us have turned to cycling for physical activity outdoors while maintaining social distancing. And those who are still wondering how to shred those extra kilos, why not jump on that bicycle this World Bicycle Day and start cycling away to good health!
In the past one year, there has been a dramatic increase in bicycle sales in response to the pandemic, amid heightened anxiety over public transportation. Cycling has long been one of the fastest, more flexible and reliable methods of transport. In the pre-COVID world, millions relied on their bicycles to get to work or school.
The global market for bicycle is expected to reach US$82.3 billion by the year 2027, trailing a post-COVID CAGR of 6% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027. While the pandemic impacted supply chains and coerced companies to temporarily shut down manufacturing facilities, the bicycle industry has enjoyed notable surge in sales, especially for mid-range bicycles. Riding a bike is emerging as one of the hottest trends owing to increasing focus of people to stay active and avoid public transport. Bicycle sales are further propelled by decision of various countries, mainly in Europe, to provide bike buyers with attractive subsidies. Customer optimism regarding bikes is also enabling manufacturers to enjoy immense gains.
The All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association said that in June 2020, when the lockdown was lifted, sales went up by 25% compared to the same month in 2019. A cycling enthusiast said everyone is obsessed with boosting their immunity to ward of the virus. So while, some are commuting on their bikes, others are purely buying for exercise.
The rise of e-bikes
Unlike motorcycles or scooters, e-bikes are essentially regular looking bicycles that have a battery and motor built-in. Despite being heavier than a traditional bicycle, e-bikes are easier to get around on as the motor helps power the rider along. E-bikes, especially pedelecs, are proving to be the ideal mode of transportation in the future. They are also a great mode of transportation, especially for recreational activities, as they offer the fun of cycling, combined with the suitability of an automobile. Furthermore, these bikes allow consumers to navigate through rough terrains, which are otherwise difficult to navigate without an electric motor. And these factors are making e-bikes very much popular in India. Many start-ups have started selling electric bikes in India. Since the demand for e-bikes has increased across the nation over the last few months, manufacturers are planning to expand their facilities to target markets. Leading manufacturers have also entered the Indian market to capture the growing market demand.
History of World Bicycle Day
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The United Nations established World Bicycle Day because the impact of bicycle on society is quite transformative, and even the poorest people get access to basic transport with the bicycle. It started when a US-based Professor Leszek Sibilski initiated a grassroots campaign with his sociology class to promote a UN resolution that would designate day for the advocacy and celebration of the humble bicycle all over the world. In 2015, he dedicated himself to an academic project, exploring bicycles and their role in development. Sibilski’s project catapulted into a massive movement backed by “Sustainable Mobility for All” and eventually resulted in a dedicated international day set by the UN for the promotion of bicycling. And on April 12, 2018, the resolution declaring June 3 as World Bicycle Day was unanimously adopted by all 193 member states of the UN General Assembly.
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