If Amsterdam, such a big city, can develop a thriving cycling/biking culture, why can’t we do it in Chennai or Bangalore?
I am sure all of us remember the first time we got a new cycle and our fond cycle rides, when we were young. I remember both my BSA SLR and Hercules MTB, quite well. These two were my primary mode of transportation for well over 8 years.
After I started using the scooter/bike, I never went back to my cycle. My bike was faster and it could cover an enormous distance with minimum strain. That was critical for my job and the other activities I was involved in. Chennai/Bangalore/Coimbatore are big cities and it was impossible to use a cycle to go around the city quickly (if required), especially on work.
But there were many instances when I could have used a cycle, instead of the bike. For example, when I went to shopping in an around my area, I could have taken the cycle. When I went to the park, I could have taken the cycle. Instead of exercising by walking for half an hour daily, I could have cycled for half an hour (not sure which one is better for health/fitness).
These days, I don’t use my bike much and use it just once in a week. Can I travel using a cycle to M.G.Road Nungambakkam (10 KM) or Tambaram (30 KM), if required?
Frankly, I think I can. Especially, if I ride the cycle during off-peak hours. The roads are somewhat good nowadays, at least good enough to ride a cycle without falling down 🙂 In fact, I would look forward to go to Tambaram from my place, even though it is longer, because there is a (relatively) broad and free bypass road that I can take and stay away from city traffic, for the entire length. I think, with some practice and getting used to it (once again), I will be able to ride long-distance.
But riding a cycle inside the city will be difficult, because of the traffic and safety concerns. Time should not be an issue, as long as I plan properly.
There are some great cycles available in shops these days – I happened to check some, during an accidental visit to one BSA shop. The new electric bikes/e-cycles are also there, but once I start using automatic electric-propulsion systems, I may not use the pedals.
I may need to buy a hand-pump and learn to use the puncture kit, for stress-free riding. Also, there are a couple of cycle shops near my house for servicing/maintenance – good.
I would very much want a separate biking lane in our cities, but all of us know it is a Utopian dream. But, if enough citizens start using cycles, at least for short trips, we might be able to make the Government/Corporation, rethink its priorities. Just saying…
I feel connecting back with my cycle may be a good idea. What do you think?