Downtown

“Cycle to work: If I can, you can too”

Sharath Nambiar   | Photo Credit: GRJGM

Traffic in Chennai is getting worse by the day. We all know that but do we do anything to find a way out of it? We still use cars and bikes to commute and deal with the nagging traffic every day.

Back in 2008, Sharath Nambiar decided he had had enough. He was no longer going to allow the traffic to take control of his schedule. An ardent fitness freak, he decided one day to cycle from his home in Tambaram to Dakshinachitra on ECR. He completed a distance of about 26 kilometres in 55 minutes. He usually took one to one-and-a-half hours to complete the journey in a car or bike. “I leave my house at 7.30 a.m. and reach my workplace in 55 minutes. This time has not changed over the years. I leave with my cycling gear, reach my workplace, take a shower and then change into office clothes,” he says.

And that’s how it started. Since 2008, Sharath, who is the chief operating officer at Dakshinachitra has been cycling to work every day. He promotes the “Cycle to Work” campaign, encouraging people to commute the healthy way.

He has stickers with quirky messages pasted all over his bicycle. Sample these — ‘I go to office like this, why don’t you?’, ‘No carbon footprint’, ‘No parking charges’, ‘One cycle = One less car in the city’, ‘No Stress’, ‘Cycling burns fat and cars build fat’ and ‘This burns calories not fuel’. “ People thought cycling to work would affect my work but the result has been just the opposite,” says Sharath. “Now, many others at Dakshinachitra  have started cycling to work. I want people to make it an every-day routine.

I know the weather can be an obstacle but if you leave early in the morning, it becomes much easier. Once you start riding, you get used to it. Anyone who enjoys cycling can do this.”

What about the sweat?

“A decent shower at the office is all it takes to deal with this problem. If people are motivated enough, they will push the office management to invest in such a facility,” he says.

Inspired by him, many people have taken to cycling, but Sharath is not content. “I want the administration to take notice and work towards making Chennai a cycle and pedestrian-friendly city by having dedicated cycling lanes. Perhaps, as in countries such as Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, we too can have certain lanes open only to cyclists and pedestrians.”


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 1:58:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/cycle-to-work-if-i-can-you-can-too/article7141041.ece

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