Over 5,000 cyclists participated in the second year of the annual cycling event – Cyclothon, organised in Ahmedabad on Sunday morning. Along with participation from the male, female, working professionals and housewives, this year’s participation also saw school and college students, both in groups and with their parents.
As many as 5,035 cyclists from all across the country participated in four different categories, full century, half century, dream ride and fixie general, and even from different cycling clubs.
Minister of Revenue Anandi Patel flagged off the event at Vallabh Sadan, Sabarmati Riverfront, in presence of city Mayor Meenaxi Patel and Municipal Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra. Thee was heavy deployment on the routes by police and traffic policemen, guiding both the traffic and cyclists. Apart from thousands of amateurs, more than 100 professional cyclists associated with the Cycling Federation of India participated in the event and nearly 50 members of the Ahmedabad Bicycling Club were also there. However, male participants dominated the number from these cycling associations. Top awards were bagged by professionals of cycling associations — CFI and ABC. However, there were no foreign tourists this time.
“A total of 120 participants came from across the country, of which 75 per cent were male. They have bagged the top positions in the both the male and female veteran categories. Some of the participants and winners have also participated in Commonwealth and Asian Games,” said V H Singh, assistant secretary CFI.
Motivating the participants were some physically challenged cyclists as well. “Being a gujju, I always wanted to be part of this event. Somehow, I could not participate last year. Last year in December I had also completed a cycling expedition from Kashmir to Kanyankumari starting on November 7 and completing on December 13,” said Aditya Mehta, a 31-year-old businessman from Hyderabad, who lost one leg in a road accident when he was 24.
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Dr Harsh Shah, president of ACB, who also participated in the event, said, “The second edition of Cyclothon was better planned. With the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, time was better managed.”
However, there were some lapses in the event. As streetlights near Meethakali stretch were not lit, there were incidents of participants tripping over their bicycles. Similar incidents of participants falling off were reported from different areas where either the roads were re-carpeted at the 11th hour or they were dug up. Nearly a dozen such cases were reported.