The green mile

Pedalling on

The green mile

'It never gets easier, you just get faster.’ These words by former American professional road racing cyclist Greg LeMond clearly sound true in the world of cycling. The activity is fast catching on among Bengalureans too for a variety of reasons. 

While the common reason stated by many is to take the green route, there are others who say that they took to cycling to avoid the growing traffic in the city.

“I encounter two traffic signals and a railway crossing on my way to work from home. Taking a car or a bike will take longer to reach office and I cycle to save time. I cycle at least nine km to and from work everyday, except for the days when I have client meetings,” says Akshay Raju, a sales and marketing professional.

That apart, he says that he has been able to save a lot of money spent on fuel. “Being an athlete, I have to keep myself fit so I avoid eating junk food and chocolates. I use the money saved to buy some dark chocolates and satiate my craving. Looking at the growing traffic, I believe I’ve made a good decision,” he says. It takes him 20 minutes to commute to and from work and this gives him a good amount of exercise too.

Though there are many advantages of cycling, Akshay feels that motorists don’t respect cyclists in the city. Overtaking and not giving them enough space to ride are the common issues. “This attitude of motorists is bad as brushing against another vehicle even slightly can lead to a big mishap on the road,” he adds.

It has been eight years since Nikhil Ram Mohan, a businessman, started cycling. Six years back, he began cycling to work. “It is a sport and a great form of exercise. I cycle five days a week and it feels nice to see other people at work also take to this eco-friendly mode of commuting,” says Nikhil.

He points out that many people have a mental block against riding a cycle in the city. “One needs to prepare themselves and wear safety gear like helmet and gloves and also make sure to get the cycle lights in place before hitting the road. Since it is a growing trend in the city, a lot of things can be done by the government to encourage people to take to cycling. The government can talk to organisations to make provisions for shower and locker rooms for cyclists to freshen up after their ride to office. Similarly, some kind of incentive should be given to employees who commute by bicycle to work. This might encourage others to do the same. Reducing taxes on cycles and spreading awareness about cycling and its benefits will help in the long-run,” opines Nikhil.

Aditya Mendonca, an entrepreneur and the founder of ‘SouthFire Cycling’, states that riding at least two km everyday makes him a happier person. “It makes me feel light and fresh. If nothing else, the fact that I beat the traffic everyday makes me happy.
Getting stuck at every signal and waiting for the jam to clear is certainly annoying. But with the Tender SURE project, there is a proposed pathway for cyclists to use which looks encouraging,” he says. 
Surupasree Sarmmah

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