Many have long said that the bike should be given more recognition than it typically receives, given what it represents in the world of the 21st century.
In 2016, two Italian radio presenters plan to make that case officially—and they’re looking at more than just the present world as evidence of the bike’s revolutionary, peaceful applications.
The two radio hosts, Missimo Cirri and Sara Zambotti of Italy’s Rai 2 programme “Caterpillar,” are petitioning the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize of 2016 to the bicycle, citing its myriad progressive, peaceful applications. Bicycles don’t cause wars, they say, given that wars oare often fought over natural resources like petroleum. Further, the bike, Cirri and Zambotti argue, “is the most democratic means of transport available to humanity”—human-powered transportation at its purest, without the affectation of engines.
That’s aside from the economic impacts of cycling. Each kilometre pedalled, they say, represents an injection of $0.17 into the world’s economy—a steal, they argue, when compared to what driving a car ultimately costs.
Additionally, the lack of pollution generated by a bike, the fact that they cause fewer road casualties and the way that riding a bike can help kids develop a sense of independence are also big parts of the pair’s advocacy. In a petition that Cirri and Zambotti have prepared, though, they also point to other, perhaps less-known aspects of the bicycle’s legacy. During the Second World War, they say, the bike was a principal vehicle of liberation when Gino Bartali—the famed Italian cycling champion—carried counterfeit documents to save Jewish Europeans from persecution. The role of the bike during that historic moment, they say, makes it a tool of “liberation and resistance.”
The completed petition, appropriately enough, will be delivered to the Norwegian Nobel Committee by bike relay.