Highlights from Bike for Peace’s 2019 World Tour

Our Norwegian member organisation Bike for Peace (BFP) has recently concluded its 2019 World Tour, which lasted 40 days and passed by the UK, France, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Norway. According to BFP’s Olga Haugvaldstad, the tour was “an educational trip which inspired participants to continue their work for peace and friendship around the world”. Aged 64-77, the trip’s participants used the opportunity to call on younger generations to work with them for a more peaceful world and a better environment. Below is a brief overview of the tour’s highlights:

  • This year’s launch event (London, 27 February) had as speakers Tore Naerland, Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party, Chair of Parliamentary Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – CND), Fabian Hamilton MP (Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament), and Douglas Chapman MP (Spokesperson for Peace and Disarmament of the Scottish National Party, SNP). From London, the World Tour group cycled to Dover, crossed to Calais and continued their ride to Paris.
  • In Delhi, BFP met with Suman Khanna Aggarwal, a professor of Gandhi’s theories who runs schools in the slums of the Indian capital. With her defense of Gandhi’s nonviolence thinking as a powerful educational tool, Suman was a great inspiration for BFP’s group. They also visited colleges and religious institutions in Delhi.
  • In China, the group cycled from the Great Wall into Beijing, where they met the “Association of Friendship with Foreign Nations” and gave lectures in churches and schools.
  • In Australia, the participants cycled in the Sydney area, where they had meetings with peace movements and church organizations.
  • In New Zealand, they met with Alyn Ware (Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament – PNND) and cycled in the Rotorua-Tauranga region, where they were welcomed by the mayors of each town with formal meetings. In Tauranga, they met with students and peace organizations. They also cycled to mosques in each of the visited locations, leaving flowers in memory of those who died in the Christchurch terrorist attack. In Auckland, a public event was organised by the local peace movement in order to honour the World Tour group and welcome them to the city.
  • In Hawaii (Honolulu), the group visited various churches, where they talked about BFP’s mission. From there, they went to Washington DC and met with Ashley Baker, Counselor to Congresswoman Deb Haaland. They then rode to Virginia, where they met with the Greens.
  • The last stop in the US was New York City, where the group met with the acting president of the United Nations General Assembly, Kwabena Osei-Danqueh (Head of President Maria Fernanda Espinosa’s Cabinet) on 3 April (see photo above). They discussed the issues of nuclear weapons, environmental protection, inclusion of people with disabilities, and the need for a democratic reform of the UN.

Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times, Bike for Peace has promoted over 100 «bike rides for peace» since its establishment in 1978. Its Global Coordinator, Tore Naerland, is an active Board Member of IPB. BFP has plans for rides in Bosnia, England, USA, Russia, Armenia-Georgia, Pakistan-India in the near future (check their Facebook page for regular updates).