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Posted at: Jun 3, 2019, 8:13 AM; last updated: Jun 3, 2019, 8:13 AM (IST)

Cycling enthusiasts to pedal for a cause

To promote cycling as affordable, simple and eco-friendly means of transport on World Bicycle Day today
Cycling enthusiasts to pedal for a cause
Around 30-35 cyclists have planned a ride for Monday, which will start at 5 am from the Grand Walk mall to Sona Resorts near Mullanpur. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Shivani Bhakoo

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2

Tomorrow is World Bicycle Day. Bicycle lovers celebrate the day to promote cycling as the best means of transport, which is simple, affordable and environmentally good.

Cyclists are seen along Sidhwan Canal and Ferozpur Road, starting 5 in the morning. About 30-35 cyclists have planned a ride tomorrow, which will start at 5 am from Grand Walk to Sona Resorts near Mullanpur. This will be about 40 km ride.

Though cyclists, including Shonaya Jain, Sameera Aulakh, Gagan Kalra, Ritu Mehta and Kulbir Singh, are excited about the ride tomorrow, they feel to promote cycling, as it is a popular ride in many European and Asian Countries, much should be done by several agencies.

“Cycling is our passion. It makes us fit and very environment friendly. But we feel scared at times because of stray dogs and bad condition of roads. The administration should promote cycling by giving good cycle tracks and arranging repair shops at short distances because if one cycle gets punctured, all riders stop to mend it,” said Ritu Mehta.

While other women riders also said there must be an arrangement for police patrolling in the area to give a sense of security to female riders. For the cycle enthusiasts, cycling not just makes them physically fit but it de-stresses them.

Sameera Aulakh said in European countries and China, people feel proud to go to work places on bicycles but here, that culture is missing, perhaps because of lack of facilities.

What TERI study reveals

A study released by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in January 2019 estimated that if bicycles were to “substitute the two and four-wheelers used for short-distance trips, it can result in an annual benefit of Rs 1.8 trillion, which is equivalent to 1.6 per cent of India’s annual GDP for 2015–16.

Poor infrastructure discouraging: Industry

Onkar Singh Pahwa from Avon Cycles said India was the largest manufacturing market of bicycles after China but cycle had not become a popular ride for countrymen. Pahwa said there were many factors responsible for that.

“First of all the status symbol comes on the way. People here feel that riding a bicycle will downgrade them, which is wrong. About 50 per cent of the population in Denmark, including rich and elite, ride bicycles. The other factor is the easy availability of motorcycles on loan. Earlier, people in Bihar and UP gave bicycles in weddings of their daughters. Today, the black traditional cycle in replaced by motorbikes. There are no separate lanes for riders and safety issue remains a major concern. About two-three decades ago, students used to go to schools/colleges on bicycles. But at present, hardly anyone goes on bicycle as roads are not safe,” said Pahwa.

On being asked why cycling was popular even in China, Pahwa said that in big cities, where population is more than 10 lakhs in China (cities), the motorcycles are banned and you can just ride on bicycles. They are so eco-friendly and people love to ride electric bicycles, said Pahwa.

Another factor is that China is number one manufacturer in bicycle industry and they have proper facilities, including many of the units are close to sea ports.

They assemble parts and directly export them. But the sad part in India is that Ludhiana has the largest bicycle industry, which is too far from the sea.

Talking about their campaign, SK Rai, MD, Hero Cycles, said the rally conducted today, raised the concerns about the lack of safe cycling infrastructure on Indian roads by talking about the effectiveness of their existing campaign

“Road pe dikhegi tabhi to chalegi,” he said, adding that the campaign would be extended in other cities, besides Delhi.

The main idea behind the campaign is to bring cycles back on road and the need for separate cycling lanes, said Rai.

Hero holds rally at Rakh Bagh today

Over 1,000 bicycle lovers, cycling enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs joined the public bicycle rally “#Right2Ride” for celebrating World Bicycle Day.

With the aim of spreading awareness about the social, economic and environmental benefits and improving the cycling infrastructure in the country, Hero Cycles flagged off ‘#Right2Ride’, a public bicycle rally, to celebrate the United Nations (UN) mandated World Bicycle Day.

The rally kick-started at 5: 30 am today. The 20 km ride presented 1,000 cyclists, including men, women and children. The managing director, Hero Cycles, highlighted that the event was conducted to bring all cycling enthusiasts under one roof and celebrate the passion for this sport and educate them about the eco-friendly mode of transport.

“More than 50 per cent of the people in India use non-motorised forms of transport, such as walking and cycling to travel to work, followed by two-wheelers (18 per cent) and buses (16 per cent). Benefits of cycling are immense, be it direct or indirect,” said SK Rai, managing director of Hero Cycles.

Ludhiana DCP Ashwani Kapur spoke about the benefits of cycling and highlighted how people can reduce the carbon footprint by a huge amount.

Cycling popular in China

  • On being asked why cycling was popular even in China, Pahwa said that in big cities, where population is more than 10 lakh in China (cities), the motorcycles are banned and you can just ride bicycles. They are so eco-friendly and people love to ride electric bicycles, said Pahwa.
  • Another factor is that China is number one manufacturer in bicycle industry and they have proper facilities, including many of the units are close to sea ports.

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