Put cycling on your 2021 to-do list
07 January 2021 | Sports
As we move into the new year, and most people have returned from various holiday destinations, Covid-19 cases continue to rise. Which means we still need to be vigilant about masking up, distancing, washing our hands and following safety regulations.
We are all managing additional stress related to the growth of the pandemic and its potential to threaten the health of ourselves, our families, and our communities. Considering using physical activity and exercise as a strategy to maintain health during this stressful period is the way to go, and cycling should be in your 2021 activity to-do list.
Cycling is one of the safest ways to get where you need to go and to get exercise right now. Exercise is important for physical, mental, and emotional health. Movement supports your immune system, and is a great antidote for the anxiety and depression that can come from isolation.
Cycling will provide a lifeline to Namibian towns, especially Windhoek, during critical times, as it is also a resilient mode of transport that can provide valuable benefits to the city in the future benefits that goes beyond mobility.
Invest in infrastructure
Investing in infrastructure to support cycling from protected lanes to mass parking facilities is exactly the type of win-win that will help our people’s mobility while curbing climate change, reducing air pollution and protecting human health.
Namibia has a significant proportion of learners who walk to and from school on a daily basis as well as employees who work to and from work. Therefore, Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) planning should be priority for Namibia, but it is largely neglected due to the lack of awareness of the role of the NMT modes of transport leading to high rates of pedestrian and cycling accidents.
I advise major Namibian organisations to come up with pool bike schemes for their employees. Having a cycling ethos in an organisation will enhance its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Cycle use demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to improving staff well-being and cutting down on emissions.
An effective CSR strategy can enhance relationships with employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders and more people on bikes will force the city to speed up the implementation of bike lanes.
Set the trend
I’m optimistic that with the new vibrant mayor of Windhoek, we will see the implementation of protected bike lanes along our roads while setting trends for other local authorities.
A country with more cycling is a country with healthier people, safer streets, cleaner air and better connectivity.
Several Namibian routes offer spectacular scenery and the means to see the parts of the country not accessible to motor vehicles. If you are planning on cycling in Windhoek, you will be glad to know that there are some great single-track routes on Farm Windhoek and the surrounding areas.
Last year became the ‘year of the bicycle’ due to Covid-19. A lot has changed and with change comes hope, because a bicycle is more than just a bicycle. It is a freedom machine. It is a vehicle for change, happiness, health and hopefulness.
Your lungs and heart will thank you; your mind will open up like the road and anyone can get in the sun and go.
*Benjamin Haidula is the communication director at Etameko Cycling Club.