Cycling and bike lanes became the topic of conversation in the last election. Those who believed that white stripes on the street were a serious social problem proclaimed this out loud, and fortunately they were not successful. It’s true, I think. Not only did they not find a better topic, but most importantly, they struggled in vain. Cycling is on the rise in developed countries.
You will meet electric cyclists on steep mountain slopes, next to them you will see mountain or gravel bike enthusiasts. And if you turn off the main road onto a country lane, you’re bound to see a display of the most modern bicycle technology the world has to offer. Anyway, it’s surprising what prices we are willing to pay for carbon frame bikes – the numbers are usually in the six figures. Cycling has long outlived its original purpose as an inexpensive way to get from place to place, and today it has at least two forms and one main purpose.
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Professional cyclist gives sports peak. In recent years, they have probably convinced a large part of society that superhuman performance overcoming mountains at the weaker speed of a motorbike or scooter can be achieved through extreme training with a very strict lifestyle, and not through doping support. When I see, at the start of this year’s Tour de France, those skinny figures with incredibly strong thighs, who will cover more than three thousand kilometers in the next three weeks at an average speed of over forty kilometers per hour, I realizing how difficult the road to the top must have been.
If you’ve only ever seen them on TV, let me remind you how the screen is usually located and adds extra weight to everyone. The racers actually look like big skinny kids with bicycles attached to their bodies, which they control so expertly that they resemble organic parts of the bicycles. And the show they put on is one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
However, cycling is basically an active hobby for millions of people. Most developed countries have understood this and supported it as much as possible. Not only bicycle lanes and associated infrastructure, but also regulations that should make cyclists feel safer. Overtaking at a distance of at least one and a half meters from the cyclist should also become a habit here. At the very least, it is a form of mutual respect between humans.
And cycling in the city? It’s no longer just about countries with cycling traditions. Just look at Manhattan in New York and even staunch naysayers would change their minds. Of course, even in our cities there are places where there are no bicycle lanes and only narrow space for car traffic. But principles don’t concern themselves with specifics, and the details always align, everywhere and in everything.
However, the main reasons for supporting bicycle shows, as well as building trails, marking lanes and adjusting regulations, are not just entertainment, but most importantly human health and the associated duration and quality of life. Two-thirds of Czech adults are overweight or obese. We rarely find slim individuals among cardiovascular patients, let alone athletes. And it’s been true for decades that nearly one in two people will die from cardiovascular disease.
After all, this is the main reason why support for sport at all levels has been talked about for decades. We must strive for a quality life as long as possible without serious illness. And if we think about what hinders us, there are two main factors – smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, cycling in its most amateur form, as well as daily brisk walking or very slow running, should be encouraged at all costs. Now we have strong evidence that daily movements like this really help us.
It’s true, the impact of supporting the movement is long-term, and its supporters run the risk that decades to come will find their efforts hard to remember. This is just a matter of vision, and not a matter of direct politics. And that’s why we must honor those who are willing to take up this uncertain task.
Read more Josef Veselka’s Diagnosis:
“Certified bacon geek. Evil social media fanatic. Music practitioner. Communicator.”