They may only be a handful of them, but the number of people cycling to work in the City is slowly on the rise.
The cyclists, who peddle their way through Bangalore roads everyday, not only manage to get their daily dose of exercise but also save on the commuting charges. Instead of cribbing about issues of road rage and honking, these people have taken it upon themselves to make a difference, both for their well-being as well as for the environment.
Aishhwariya Subramanian, a researcher at a private firm who recently started cycling to her workplace which is 13 kilometres from her house says, “I wanted to buy a vehicle. But with the fuel prices soaring, I decided against it. Since I’ve always been an outdoor person and into running, I thought it would be a better idea to get a cycle. It’s an excellent form of strength training,” explains the 25-year-old.
Pointing out that there is much to contend with as a cyclist in the City, Aishhwariya says, “There are hardly any cycling tracks in Bangalore. For instance, the one in Jayanagar doesn’t serve any purpose. In fact, I avoid it because I find it dangerous,” she says.
Freelance soft-skills trainer, Ankush Sharma who pulled away from the gym for lack of time, says that he realised cycling to work would be the perfect workout. “My sister, who also cycles, is my inspiration. I was initially reluctant to start but the benefits have been numerous,” says Ankush, who cycles 30 to 40 kilometres to work everyday.
Recalling the days he used to ride and drive, Ankush says, “My blood used to boil when I drove. In the last six months, I’ve hardly used my vehicles. In fact, I filled in three litres of fuel six months ago and have just used half a litre.” Cautioning those who wish to take to cycling, Ankush says that it is important to wear the right gear while getting on the congested roads. “Getting a good cycle, head gear and glasses are things that should be kept in mind,” he says.
But what has led to an increase in the number of those cycling to work are the facilties provided by offices. “What’s required is a shower facility which is provided by most companies,” says Venkatesan Ramachandran, an architect with an MNC who cycles 10 kilometres everyday.
“I was a little apprehensive initially about cycling to work because of the traffic and safety issues. But a couple of months into it, these fears have disappeared,” he says.
Venkatesan’s office, which has recently set up a cycle stand explains, “At first, the company didn’t understand the needs of cyclists. We had to park our cycles with the bikes and were worried about it being stolen. But now with 15 to 20 people cycling in my facility, a stand has been provided,” he explains.
But some like Shwetha Naik, a yoga therapist at NIMHANS who cycles 31 kilometres everyday, rues that cyclists are not respected.
“We have to go through tiny spaces and those in cars and on bikes don’t care. Added to it, there are the potholed roads and speed breakers,” she explains. “But,” she adds, “Putting those issues aside, the benefits are really good.
The endorphins which are released keeps one fresh through the day. And it’s only when one is on a bike that one realises the amount of pollution around.”