For Mohamed Tharik, a young executive at Ness Technologies, cycling is a way of life rather than just a cheaper alternative to other forms of transport. “I cycle everywhere. It started as a way of keeping fit,” he said.
However, cycling itself can pose its fair share of problems. “Within the city, it is a problem during peak hours because I have realised that people in vehicles just don’t respect cyclists. Also, in most places in the city, the footpaths are too uneven to cycle,” he lamented.
Despite the problems, many today are keen on cycling. “At work, I know at least seven people who come to work in cycles and I, myself, am part of a cycling group in office where we arrange a biking trip,” he said.
Recognising that Bangaloreans are taking to cycling, several bicycle brands have found their way to the city. Cycle World, which opened on Wednesday in JP Nagar, is an exclusive showroom that offers high-end bikes, such as the American brand Huffy and the Taiwanese brand, Merida. “We decided to start an exclusive outlet by just selling these brands, because we saw the sales increase in Bangalore by ten-fold in the last year-and-a-half,” said Akshay Kapur, director of Action Bikes, which distributes Merida bikes in the country. Even familiar names in the city are fast becoming cycling enthusiasts. Radio Indigo’s RJ Sriram rode his cycle to work when the petrol prices rose in the city, a few months ago and shared his experiences on-air.
“I still cycle when I can but you really need to plan your day well in advance when you decide to take it up,” he said, adding that he always carries a spare shirt. “When you cycle, you end up exerting yourself. So you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. I had a few people telling me that they took up cycling after that,” he said.