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Why Cycling As Public Transport?

I find bicycles very fascinating because while riding a bicycle the rider becomes the part of the machine in a very unique way - the rider becomes the engine himself

I find bicycles very fascinating because while riding a bicycle the rider becomes the part of the machine in a very unique way - the rider becomes the engine himself. A friend once told me that in cycling our heart is the engine and our legs are its piston. This thought has remained with me ever since I rediscovered the joy of cycling about four years ago.

When you are cycling the feeling is unique as one is not playing any social or family or career roles, one is truly with oneself and the pace at which one cycles is more than human running speed but lesser than that of a car and this allows for larger distances to be covered without being locked in a moving cabin liberating the rider. This magically brings back the same feeling of happiness that one once experienced as a kid with the thrill of winds in the face and experiencing the world around at a pace where one can interact with elements and feel alive.

Cycling thus is of immense benefit for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. It is an excellent exercise and it can help riders commute. For many decades we have seen the semi urban and rural workers commuting on their simple cycles and in the past couple of years we have seen a rapid growth of urban cyclist who cycle for leisure or as a lifestyle or fitness activity. Most of the rural, semi urban and urban cyclist have been riding on roads with traffic and there aren't any cycling tracks worth mentioning as such in India, this exposes the cyclists to grave dangers in the fast moving and chaotic traffic. With growing vehicular traffic and jams the air pollution levels are at an alarming levels and I strongly feel that cycling can be a great solution to decongesting the city traffic if dedicated cycling tracks are constructed. There have been efforts to make these tracks in Noida where I live but these are mostly squatted by vendors or for unauthorised parking.

I was part of the inauguration of Asia's first bicycle highway by UP Government last November, it is a good step and first of its kind 250 KM cycling highway between Etawah and Agra through some tourist attractions and fields. It is indeed a good step, I also learnt that Chandigarh is soon launching cycling tracks and cycle hiring facilities linked with public transportation as is done in various European cities where I have cycled. These steps need to be taken with utmost priority as cycle tracks and an incentive to cycle to work can help in decongesting our cities and also help us in staying healthy.

Cycling is becoming very popular and this should be recognised by our town planners and government departments, I have cycled extensively in Europe - and I would like to share my experience of riding in Amsterdam - The city has dedicated cycling tracks and no other vehicle is allowed in these, practically the whole city commutes on cycles - I was amazed to see a multi level parking near the central station in Amsterdam for bicycles ! We should emulate such planning and integrate cycling with our public transport as soon as possible to decongest our metros.

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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Deepender Sehajpal

Deepender Sehajpal is an avid cyclist and a finisher of prestigious 1200 KM cycling event Paris Brest Paris 2015, which is the world's oldest cycling ride and is held once every four years in France. Sehajpal is 44 years old and runs the Audax Club Parisean licensed Ultra Cycling Club - Noida Randonneurs. He has also finished the Tour of Nilgirs, Desert 500 and Manali to Leh on a cycle. With 25000 KMs on his cycle he has ridden in most terrains in India and overseas.

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