If you want to start cycling and don't know where to begin, here's some help. From bike stations to cycling zones, here's what the city offers

We talk and tweet about leaving our cars and two-wheelers at home and cycling to work each time there's a hike in fuel prices. The enthusiastic among us make enquiries on where to find good bikes and how feasible it is to cycle to work.

We mull over the bad roads, chaotic traffic and go back to our cars and two-wheelers. Is cycling, even as a hobby, not feasible in Hyderabad?

If you can make it to Necklace Road at the crack of dawn, you would be surprised to discover a bike station near Sanjeevaiah Park, from where you can hire a bike. The stretch from Sanjeevaiah Park to Imax junction is a cycling zone from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.

The bike station at Necklace Road is a result of the efforts taken by the Hyderabad Bicycling Club (HBC), which has close to 2300 members. “The common grievance we heard from people was ‘I cannot afford an imported bike' or ‘Is it safe to cycle in Hyderabad'? This bike station has 150 imported bikes, both geared and non geared variants and a few bikes for children. On a good day, you will see around 200 people on this stretch, some who use their own bikes and others who rent from the station. On weekends, there is a waiting list for bikes,” says D.V. Manohar, president, HBC.

While the HBC has cyclists who have participated in national and international events, including endurance rides and mountain biking, even newcomers are welcome to join the group. Age is no bar and women constitute 25 per cent of members.

The members gather in small groups and cycle in different areas of the city — Secunderabad, Gachibowli, Osmania University campus and the stretch around KBR Park to take part in fun rides, family rides and endurance rides.

In a month from now, the HBC plans to set up a new bike station opposite Imax with 100 bikes, to avoid queues at Sanjeevaiah Park. Similar bike stations are also being planned near KBR and Hi-tech city railway station, to encourage techies to rent a cycle and commute to work.

“We have tied up with the Hyderabad Municipal Development Authority and in a couple of years, when the metro rail project materialises, we plan to have exclusive cycling tracks from Hi-tech city station — to Hi-tech city, to Kothaguda junction and towards Knowledge Park via Inorbit Mall,” says Manohar.

If these initiatives sound good enough, begin today, on World Environment Day. The HBC can be reached through www.meetup.com/HyderabadBicyclingClub. On the other end of the spectrum, the Hyderabad Cycling Club (HCC) is the forum to be a part of if you want to challenge yourself. The group has more than 200 members who have challenged themselves through Brevet Rides.

Go for the kill

In these rides, a biker has to cycle long distance (200 to 1400 kms within a stipulated time) to be acknowledged as a Super Radonneur by the Audax Club Parisien in France. “We take our cycling seriously. Periodically, we take up gruelling short distance and long distance rides, for instance, mountain biking on a rough terrain near Narsapur forest,” says Sunil Menon of HCC. These bikers train to be at their fittest best. “Our workout routine is targeted at developing lung power, strengthening of muscles and improving the heart rate. We have aerobic workouts, interval training and hill training,” says Sunil. Reach out to HCC through http://www.facebook.com/HyderabadCyclingClub.