BENGALURU: For the women who participated in a Cycle School workshop - part of a campaign to promote cycling in Bengaluru - the feeling of accomplishment was a rewarding one.“Everyone used to tell me that I won’t be able to cycle but I have done it. I didn’t think I could learn cycling but I did it today for the first time.Now, I plan to keep practising on my son or daughter’s cycle,” said Smitha Jacob (42), a former IT employee who participated in the workshop held on Church Street on Sunday.
City-based NGO Jhatkaa and bicycle touring company ‘Pedal in Tandem’ have teamed up to make Bengaluru’s streets cycle-friendly, especially for women. They will organise the workshops on Sundays at different locations to teach women to cycle and equip them with practical information so that they can continue to ride a bike as a hobby or use it to commute.The workshops are part of the #BengaluruMoving campaign which aims decongest the city’s roads and reduce emissions over the next few years.
Jhatka and Pedal in Tandem aim to address the hurdles that prevent girls and women from riding a bike. Barriers to taking up cycling include infrastructural challenges, lack of knowledge about the right bicycle for different body types, lack of information about appropriate clothes to wear while cycling.
Founders of Pedal In Tandem Poojya Basavaraj and Dheeraj Subramanian said there are several deterrents to people taking up cycling --- lack of safety due to pothole-ridden roads, motorists’ apathy towards cyclists, lack of dedicated cycling infrastructure (lanes, parking lots), lack of knowledge or self-reliance in case of breakdowns and lack of riding skills.They added: “For women, these deterrents are compounded by safety concerns and social stigma. We hope tobreak these barriers.”