BY: Alobo Eba
A Green Pedal Cycling Club has been launched in Calabar by a Non Governmental Organization known as
Green Pedal Development Foundation (GPDF)
The launch which took place on June 13th attracted sport lovers from far and wide. According to the founder, Dr. Inah Okon, an Associate Professor of Urban Transportation Planning, the club “Is a social network of persons with passion for positive changes in our society. It is a club that seeks to promote cycling and walking not only as a sport or recreation, but also for utilitarian uses such as for trips to work, school, shopping, church, or other purposes”.
He added that a movement has just kick started saying ” We have started a movement today that we can be proud of tomorrow. We are looking at the possibility of helping to promote cycling beyond sport and get legislations to back it up”
The club also seeks to provide an opportunity for social interaction among members via recreational bike rides, bike riding lessons, participation in any world bicycle-related events and so on.
Dr. Inah who is also the Acting Head of Department of Architecture, University of Calabar called on government at all levels to provide a bicycle lane in our road construction by creating a pop-up cycling lane where people can practice. Doing this according to him will help take pressure away from the road and help expand the lifespan of such roads as cycling enhances environmental quality of the city.
He added that the club is soliciting for laws to be enacted that will give cycling a boost. He advocated for a
legislation geared towards recognising cycling as an alternative form of transportation.
Using Cross River as a model, the NGO seeks to expand its reach across the nation. It called on agencies of government, climate change promoters, transport firms and public spirited individuals to partner with the club in a bid to promote cycling in the state and the nation at large.
The club equally seeks to create awareness that people can naturally cycle as according to him “When you’re cycling amidst cars, it gives you some level of independence needed to face the reality of life. It helps in regulating people’s respiratory system, it keeps you mentally alert, physically strong and breeds communal togetherness”.
According to the founder, cycling is one of the most harmless exercise one can engage in.
Dr. Okon further said “We encourage a utilitarian cycling and walking culture in our cities, hence the idea behind starting a cycling club. We can add beauty to our urban life and cut down on carbon emission arising from cars and reducing noise and other forms of land pollution”.
It is a club that seeks to promote cycling and other sustainable urban transport options. It is already enjoying good partnership with different organizations in different countries and they are advocating for more.
Highpoint of the launch was the unveiling of the bicycles. Mr. Obaseokanke Willie while declaring the club opened called for support to make the vision a reality saying “We believe that today, we are part of this vision. All we owe is the support to make it an envy to the whole world”.
GPDF was incorporated in 2016 as an NGO with the mandate of promoting non-motorised transport alternatives in Nigerian urban centres.