On 3 June in Rome the Bicycle Festival on the Appia Antica, “The means of the future in the era of climate change”

Appia Antica for at least three hours completely pedestrians and cyclists next Saturday, on the World Bicycle Day announced by the UN, next Saturday from 10 to 13. The initiative is by a group of environmental associations, including Friday for Future Rome as well as Salvaiciclisti, Fiab Lazio and Legambiente, who took the opportunity to give space to the “linear monument used today as a shortcut by heavy vehicles,” in contention to enter the Unesco heritage. It is not an event, warn the organizers on the festadellabicicletta.it website, but a party: “the bike is the perfect means of moving lightly. We need to be light, our impact has been heavy and is leading us to disaster. The future is this: on World Bicycle Day, June 3, 2023, we celebrate on the Appia Antica in Rome: the two pedal wheels are an instrument of freedom and peace, therefore the joy of living”.

“There is no one who is happy to move around the city, in every city, as they currently do: we should ask ourselves why -it reads-. Clogged roads, children who no longer walk to school or play, cars everywhere and more and more large, increasingly intrusive. Anyone who has noticed that in this way there is no serenity but we all seem enchanted, it seems that there is no escape from this life linked to cumbersome and dangerous means. The most precious asset, the only one we really possess , is time: but we waste it in traffic queuing or looking for parking, helping to create a vicious circle from which it is difficult to get out. There is a simple solution to this complex problem: the bicycle. With its essential mechanics and strong history bicentenary, it has continuously improved up to the present day: it is the most suitable means of transporting us lightly and with low impact in order to have a future”.

The festival has the patronage of the Municipality of Rome, which has considered it as “of public interest” by granting the exclusive use of the first stretch, from the San Sebastiano gate to the Quo Vadis church, completely free of charge; to also sponsor the Appia Antica Park, which will leave its spaces in use to the participants; in fact, a picnic on the nearby Caffarella meadows is also planned.

It is the first time that an initiative linked to two-wheeled pedals is put in direct connection with the now evident climate change: so much so that the organizers have also produced a substantial scientific document, “Addressing climate change”, in which in addition to taking stock of the climate situation, it explains why linking the bicycle and the fight against the rise in global temperatures due to human action makes sense.

“The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy -it reads- has compiled a valuable catalog of standard CO2 emissions associated with different technologies, including means of transport: planes, trains, cars, electric cars, etc. For example, the standard emission of an airplane flight is about 250 g per person and per km, and decreases to 150 g in the case of intercontinental flights for which consumption during the take-off and landing phases is more diluted. average emissions are 192 g per person and per km while for trains they are 41 g. The catalog does not show emissions related to bicycle travel. In fact, the emissions associated with the bicycle production cycle are minimal (about 5 g/km) , while the emissions associated with propulsion, fueled by the human body, depend on what we eat. A great deal is consumed by eating beef, while consumption can be reduced with an essentially vegetarian diet. The European Cycling Foundation has estimated that the fuel for cycling has emissions equivalent to 16 g/km”.

The reason why the Appia Antica was chosen is explained as follows: “it is a road so steeped in history that it would not even be necessary to explain why we chose it as a symbol of the unhealthy use of the roads by heavy vehicles. The place chosen for seeing us, the Quo Vadis, derives from a question Peter asked Jesus almost 350 years after its construction: “Where are you going”? It is a question we want to ask those who still use an ancient monument as a shortcut instead of the Appia Nuova. Why only this is the meaning of its continuous crossing today. We want to tell all contemporaries that current personal comforts are harmful to society”.