NEW DELHI

Bicycles are back on track; Delhiites take to pedalling

New Yorkers do it, so do Parisiens and Delhiites are slowly beginning to hop on to their bicycles in style, getting addicted to what is being touted as ‘gym on wheels’. The fast mushrooming of cycling groups across the Capital are just a growing indicator of the ascending popularity of the sport.

Clubs

Enthusiasts can join the several clubs in Delhi/NCR including Delhi Cyclists, Noida Cycling Club, South West Riders, Delhi Cycling Club and Cycle Sutra.

Says Mohammed Siraj of TV Cycle of India (which has a cycle store in Delhi) and also facilitates cycling groups and regularly organises tours across the city: “Our last cycle tour was this past Sunday where we took our participants for a two hour trip around Central Delhi. For our members information about an upcoming trip is posted on our Facebook along the route and the halt stops. We have members in the age-group of 15 to 70 years.”

He added that for the sport you could buy a cycle for as little as Rs. 5,200 (normal, non-gear bicycle) while a riders bike is an upwards of Rs. 15,000.

Speaking about her initiation and love for the sport, bicycle rider for the past one year Anita Punjabi, member of Delhi Cyclists, says: “I was initiated into the sport by a friend and have been cycling for a year now. This is great sport and it is fun to connect with people who share the hobby. Most cycle groups use the early morning time 4-30 a.m. onwards when Delhi roads are relatively empty to indulge in the sport. Central Delhi is the most preferred stretch because of the wide roads and greenery. The only problem that we face is the menace of stray dogs and erratic traffic.”



Lanes for bicycles



Ms. Punjabi, a teacher at Lotus Valley International, adds: “There aren’t many women who are regulars but their numbers are slowly going up. Also we feel that while the government has brought in lanes dedicated for bicycle users, people here don’t adhere to the rules, which makes cycle riding a bit more difficult here.” Centre for Science and Environment executive director research and advocacy Anumita Roychowdhury speaking about the need for popularising cycle use says: “There is an urgent need of non-motorised transport to reduce pollution which will also help improve the overall public health in a city.”



“However cycling is under serious stress because of hostile traffic conditions and poor protection,” she adds.



Elaborating on the fate of some earlier bike sharing schemes brought in by the government, Ms. Roychowdhury says: “Bike sharing programme in Delhi has faced serious roadblocks as municipalities are not prepared to give adequate land for parking of bikes and other infrastructure support and tax concession.”



“Limited number of schemes have been implemented with private sector participation near Metro stations and on the BRT corridor. In these schemes the concessionaire operates the bike station and gets advertisement space and is expected to recover the cost from revenue from cycle rental charges. But often such measures degenerate into grabbing space for advertisements without adequate promotional measures for bike sharing,” she adds.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:16:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/bicycles-are-back-on-track-delhiites-take-to-pedalling/article6265213.ece

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