Sunday, January 22, 2006

Encouraging Cycling in India - Chennai

Pedal power

Sujith Koshy, a businessman, wants people to travel on eco-friendly bicycles

Why can't we cycle? Cycle to work. Cycle for leisure. Why do people think it is only for the poor? I have a car and a motorbike, but use my cycle for commuting five days a week. On weekends, I sometimes use my car to transport things.

With cycling, there is self-reliance. We are the engine. With cycling, we are in touch with the environment. Everything around us is alive and visible. We hear the birds and the crickets. We turn eco-conscious.

I think we can cover at least a short distance on cycle everyday. You can even avoid haggling with the auto drivers. But for this to happen, we need lanes specifically meant for cyclists with trees planted on either side so that we get enough shade when we cycle.

In Portland (Oregon, USA), many cycle and they can take their cycles along on the train. I wonder if the railway authorities here would make a provision for carrying cycles on the local trains (at least on the metro services, which is in its initial stage of development). This way, we can cycle to the station, cover the long distance on rail and pedal when we get off.

If anyone tells you that cycling is dangerous, point out that heart disease alone — which can be prevented by riding a bicycle — claims many lives each year. We even work towards a healthier environment. Today, we breathe `second-hand' air with most of it emitted by automobiles. I want to thank people who don't own a car or a bike.

Let's go back to cycling.

As told to ASHA MENON - The Hindu Newspaper


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