Former call centre employee Edwin Sequeira, who now favours the bicycle almost to the exclusion of all other forms of transport, says, “Like any other cardiovascular exercise, cycling releases endorphins and makes you feel really good. You get the added benefit of improving muscle tone, increasing your stamina and getting healthier and fitter. Brisk cycling helps build thigh muscles, calves and the butt area.”
Mumbai-based Edwin is not alone in extolling the virtues of the pedal machine. The nimble two-wheeler is back in fashion, and how! India’s first public bicycle sharing initiative, ‘Trin Trin’, was launched last year in Mysuru by the Karnataka government. Now, the same scheme has targeted Bengaluru as well. By end of this year, even the national capital will boast its first elevated six-km-long, 20-ft-wide covered cycle track.
In this age of climbing pollution levels, the eco-friendly nature of this mode of transport could well be the reason for it making a comeback in the public space. Also, for a host of people, the cycle is being upheld as the ‘vehicle’ to foster health and wellness.
Puneet Hedge, who could well be a proponent for sustainable living, gives a big thumbs-up to the bicycle. “It is good for the muscles and can help weight loss if done properly. Cycling generally reduces risk of several illnesses,” says Puneet who through his company GreenDriveIndia distributes electric bicycles in Pune. IT professional Sachin Pandit, who is based in Pune and is also a film editor, works 16-18 hours every day. Cycling, he says, helps him focus, besides ensuring sound sleep. What works in the cycle’s favour is that the benefits are not just one-dimensional.
Chennai dietician Dr Dharini Krishnan lets in on the element of introspection involved while cycling. “Solitary cycling gives time for one’s own thoughts thereby creating meditative moments on the go,” says Dharini who cycles for almost an hour four days a week. Puneet shares her sentiment, “With regular cycling, sleep gets better which has an added health benefit.” Another reason for cycling being a mood uplifter might well have its basis in childhood. “It brings to the fore happy childhood memories of discovering places and experiences. Reliving those experiences makes one happy. When I cycle, I get back to my childhood days and become a kid again,” recalls 49-year-old Edwin.
Dr Sanjay Chugh, a Rajasthan-based consultant and interventional cardiologist, says: “Cycling is very good for weight loss and fitness. It increases wellness by burning excess fat.” Although a word of caution—people with heart or other disease, especially the middle-aged ones, should start cycling only after seeking medical advice, he adds.
Cycling also brings in a spirit of camaraderie. Edwin says, “I would cycle to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park every weekend and feast on the natural flora and fauna. Kanheri caves carved out of the rocky cliffs lies within the park. I urged my friends to join me. Now, we have people of different age groups and professions cycling together.” It won’t be long before the humble bicycle occupies pride of place in every household.