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BW Businessworld

Cycle For Freedom From Congestion

Take up and promote cycling. Give yourself the gift of fresh air and your future generations the freedom to breathe!

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Cycling is possibly the greatest and most pleasurable form of transport ever invented. It's like walking only with one-tenth of the effort. Ride through a city, and you can understand its geography in a way that no motorist, contained by one-way signs and traffic jams, will ever be able to. You can whiz from one side to the other in minutes. You can overtake £250,000 sports cars that are going nowhere fast. You can park pretty much anywhere. It truly is one of the greatest feelings of freedom one can have in a metropolitan environment. It's amazing you can feel this free in a modern city. -Daniel Pemberton, The Book of Idle Pleasures

Did you know that pollution levels inside a car are much higher than outside? Did you know that in the capital city of Delhi traffic congestion leads to dangerously high PM10 levels that are among the highest anywhere in the world? Did you know that noise pollution levels in Indian cities such as Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are much higher than the permissible national and international limits? Did you know that noise pollution can be damaging to mental and physical health? Did you know that parking lots take up as much as 40% of urban Indian roads on working days?

So you have a scenario where there is air pollution, noise pollution and space congestion. Now imagine a scenario where this is reduced considerably, giving you a fresher, quieter and more spacious environment. Which would you want for yourself, your children and for generations to come? Have you been guilty of adding to the congestion around you? Is there anything you can do to reduce this and still manage to be healthier and fitter?

In fact, you can. One of the things you can do besides walking is to take up cycling.

Now why is the good old bicycle a good, or perhaps better, means of transport than any other in the long run? The benefits are far more than we give it credit.

o Cycling is a cheap mode of transport, it's noise and pollution free
o Cycles occupy less space and give a sense of freedom.
o Cycling not only elevates your metabolic rate but also helps you keep your weight in check.
o If your children walk or cycle to school, they will most likely be mentally alert and physically fit and healthy. That is sure to make it easier for them to pay more attention and feel energetic, hence do better in studies and sports.
o The fitness quotient of cyclists is the same as those who are 10 years younger than they are.
o Cycling tones the quads and glutes and even works on the abs.
o Cyclists are known to take fewer sick leaves, hence cycling cuts down on nonattendance and increases productivity.
o Some statistics suggest that cyclists are good for local business because they tend to get off and make more purchases than those on four wheelers.
o Neighbourhoods that are less congested and cycle-friendly appeal more to homebuyers.
o People of all ages can enjoy cycling; it's a skill that lasts forever.

Many European cities, inspired by Nordic cities such as Denmark's Copenhagen, are increasingly promoting cycling to reduce both traffic and air congestion. But in Delhi, many people do cycle to work in Delhi, but the sad news is that cyclists account for 50% of traffic deaths in the city because of lack of safe intra-city cycling infrastructure. But there is hope with new proposals along the way. DDA's plan to develop cycling tracks should encourage more people to cycle over short distances, to both reduce pollution and improve their health. Delhi could have better air to breathe in and less smog-related loss of workdays, absenteeism and health hazards.

Take up and promote cycling. Give yourself the gift of fresh air and your future generations the freedom to breathe!

This article is reproduced as part of BW Businessworld’s campaign to promote and educate the people of India on the need for a cleaner and greener environment. We strive to make our cities of tomorrow smarter through viable urban mobility solutions like cycling and walking.

BW Businessworld Smart Cities Conclave & Awards is a platform that endeavours to engage smart cities, thought leaders and innovators to bring forth smart and sustainable ideas that can link our progressive cities to solutions that are best suited for them.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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environment healthcare cycling pollution

Jasmin Waldmann, International Life Coach

Jasmin Waldmann is an International Life Coach and the MD of JWLCC. She offers private sessions, seminars and workshops, as well as speeches. Jasmin Waldmann is an author of the upcoming book "Change ME!"

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