Perhaps you've heard it before, that (American) millenials are foregoing driving, cycling is the new golf, and the global bike market is forecast to continue growing by almost 40 percent between the years 2016 and 2024. Lately, it's hard to keep track of the many bike-sharing schemes that have sprouted around the world and closer to home in Japan, cycling as a sport (both casually and competitively) has seen rising interest - again.
Bikes Are Cool
If you didn't know it, you do now. The number of people who profess to enjoy cycling are increasing. This upward trend can be attributed to an interest in a healthier lifestyle, environmental factors, and mobility reasons. Of course, there are nations like the Netherlands, with a culture that prioritizes the bicycle as a primary means of transportation and cities like Minneapolis, which boasts a history of developing the infrastructural networks suitable for cycling in the city.
Challenges of City Cycling
For those of us in Tokyo, cycling can be a stop and go affair that makes it challenging to enjoy the ride. Whether it's the cars, exhaust fumes, traffic lights, or the vehicles parked in bike lanes, we know how frustrating it can be! Many cities (including Tokyo) suffer from insufficient infrastructural networks for cycling, including protected bike lanes and cycling tracks. Unfortunately, while ridership continues to rise, the lack of protected cycling lanes and bike freeways can be expected to be a major impediment to the growth of the market for bicycles.
Tokyo Bike Tour: A Proposal
In a bid to promote cycling and raise awareness about the growing cycling community in Japan, a group of cycling industry leaders founded a committee to realize the first Tokyo Bike Tour, scheduled for May 2018. The Tour aims to become Japan's largest cycling event with 10,000 cyclists free to roam the streets of central Tokyo - car free. Participants will be given a rare chance to ride a bike safely through the main streets of Tokyo and feel at ease with road closures in effect Events leading up to and during the event will highlight the personal health advantages and environmental benefits of becoming a more cycling-inclusive society.
Be a Part of Cycling History
As with all things in Japan however, such an event can't receive approval overnight. To demonstrate the strength of the cycling community, the committee has put together an official website that allows cyclists to express their interest in attending Tokyo Bike Tour. The website serves much like a petition as it will be presented as a part of the event proposal to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and relevant government offices. The more cyclists expressing interest, the more convincing of a case that can be presented.
For the Tour to become reality, the committee needs cyclists to mark their interest in the Tokyo Bike Tour. It's easy - just click the link below, select the appropriate bubbles, and submit. This is simply an expression of interest and advocacy. You are not registered for nor obligated to attend the Tokyo Bike Tour.
Tokyo Bike Tour Proposal
Date: May 5, 2018 (Saturday; Children's Day)
Course: Public roads in central Tokyo (about a 40 to 50KM round-trip course)
Style: Fun ride (roads will be closed for bicycle traffic only)
Attendance: 10,000 cyclists
Age Eligibility: 10 years or older
* All cyclists must wear a helmet.
Car-Free and Closed-Road Cycling Movements Around the World
TD Five Boro Bike Tour (New York)
"On the first Sunday in May, 32,000 cyclists of all skill levels come from around the world to roll through every borough of New York City on streets totally free of cars. For one day, the roads are yours, the bridges are yours, the City is yours—there’s no better way to experience the Big Apple."
"There is no other closed-road event like it that combines the fun and accessible element of a free family ride in central London with the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclists race."
Car-Free Sunday (Singapore)
"Car-Free Sunday SG turns part of our city into a pedestrian and cyclist friendly precinct and creates a 5.5 km route of closed roads in the heart of the city. It is part of the larger movement towards a car-lite Singapore, envisioning our city with fewer cars."
DOCOMO BIKESHARE INC. / Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. / OGK KABUTO Co., Ltd. / PEARL IZUMI INC. / SHIMANO INC.
SUKIYA CO., LTD. / TEIJIN LIMITED / TREK JAPAN CORPORATION / Y International Corporation