In spite of automobile manufacturers coming out with posh and fancy vehicles, cycling still holds its charm for Puducherrians, says SERENA M. JOSEPHINE

Not swanky cars or stylish motorbikes, but it is the age-old bicycles that symbolises this coastal town for decades now. Be it the young or old, bicycles continue to be a huge hit in Puducherry, especially for a pleasant ride across town. “I love cycling,” exclaims Meena as she parks her bicycle near Aurobindo Ashram. “Think of the ecological benefits of using a cycle. Riding a bicycle is like an exercise and I enjoy riding it across town,” she adds. Regular cycling is synonymous of good health for 75-year-old V.Krishnamurthy, a cyclist since the age of 16. Pedalling through the narrow lanes of the town, Kalyani who is a regular cyclist says cycling helps save time. “I have been riding a bicycle for along time now. I prefer to take the cycle than walk. It helps me get around easily and I cycle every day to the market,” she adds. A number of school children cycle to school everyday. Surprisingly, there are many who cycle to Puducherry everyday from Auroville via the East Coast Road or through Gorimedu. For many Puducherrians, cycling has become a part and parcel of their lives.

A passion for many, cycling has also has a number of advantages when compared to other vehicles.“Not just an easy means of transport, cycles are also pollution-free. It helps us to be on the move always and I am in good health with no complaints of blood pressure or sugar. Thanks to regular cycling,” adds Krishnamurthy. With the rising fuel prices cyclists are a carefree lot as they continue to enjoy this inexpensive mode of transport. Another interesting advantage that cyclists point out is that they still aquire ample parking while the city is choked with increasing number of motor vehicles vying for parking places.

“Cycles do not occupy too much space and there is a lot of parking area for bicycles. This is indeed a big benefit for us cyclists,” gushes Meena.

Tourists flocking Puducherry often hire cycles to get around the city like the locals. There are a number of outlets renting out cycles to the tourists. “Cycling gives a new sight-seeing experience. We can go around the place at ease, instead of just rushing away in a car,” notes a tourist cycling along the beach road.