If Mumbai ran on Sunday,Delhi cycled. Though the event did not have a brand ambassador,the 20-km cycling event,organised by the Delhi Cycling Club and Initiative for Transportation & Development Programmes (ITDP-India),an NGO,to promote the use of the common mans transport for a zero-pollution Delhi,saw enthusiasts from all walks of life,from school students to academicians to environmentalists to engineers,take part.
The participants,numbered around 40,had bravely chosen to leave behind their living room couches on a Sunday for the noble cause. On a route that captured the essence of the old and the new in the Capital,rows of riders were seen leaning over their handle bars. The event started from Delhis Humayun Tomb and took the cyclists to Lodhi Road and past the Oberoi Hotel,to the cycle tracks of the Bus Rapid Transport corridor.
If the government decides to promote cycling among citizens and spends only a fraction of its road and flyover budget to develop safe and segregated bicycle lanes and cyclist-friendly infrastructure and facilities in our cities,we could see a large number of people leaving their motor vehicles behind and take up cycling as an alternative, Nalin Sinha of ITDP-India said.
Though the organisers admitted that bicycles may look a little out of place or seem slow in the fast traffic lanes of Delhi,enthusiasts like Sinha can hardly forego the charm of a vigorous ride and the tinkle of the cycle bell. A proof of that were the 40 participants at todays event,they said. Although the bicycle is losing its modal share in todays fast and unsafe road traffic,its still considered the common mans transport in most Indian cities and is also gaining popularity in western countries, Sinha said.
The Delhi Cycling Club and ITDP-India have been engaged for the last two years in creating awareness about the benefits of cycling and popularising it among the public and various stakeholders.
The Delhi Cycling Club is a forum comprising about 600 cycling enthusiasts and environmentally aware people devoted to cycling as a medium towards a pollution-free environment. Started in October 2006,the club has been organising cycling events in Delhi and the NCR.