Pune was once known as city of bicycles, but the motorcycles replaced this eco-friendly vehicle, thus leaving very little or even no space for bicycle riders for safe riding. In order to promote cycling, the Pune Municipal Corporation had constructed cycle tracks on various roads of the city. However, no uniformity is seen in all these tracks, which are operational and therefore, we decided to pedal on various tracks of the city to understand the convenience as well as the problems being faced by the cyclists.
Race Course road
The cycle track was completely cemented. No one else was cycling on the cycle track apart from us. There were no bumps but 'soft' obstacles. The cycle track was encroached by soft toy vendors. We had to stop after 400 metres due to the street vendors, and then go to the other side over the footpath. There was no traffic cop to check the encroachment. The cycle track lacks in continuity which makes riding difficult.
There were buses and auto-rickshaws parked on the cycle track. We rode for a kilometre but it was impossible to ride the cycle continuously on that track as there were obstructions in every 15 metres in the form of parked vehicles or missing portions. People were using the cycle track as footpath, making things more difficult for cyclists.
As we started riding our bicycles, we found heaps of concrete scraps on the track. We could not even cover a route length of about 600 metres track connecting Venkateshwara hatcheries and Parvati Water Works due to the obstructions like electric poles, bus stops and telephone panels. Cycle tracks have missing portions and the sections are not connected to one another. The track is adjacent to a boundary wall and is often used as a public toilet by slum dwellers, so it was very difficult for us to ride through that stinky and filthy surrounding.
On paper, Model Colony enjoys a cycle track, but in reality it's a multi-utility parking space-cum-dumping ground-cum-construction materials storage space for PMC and the local residents. This cycle track is hardly used for the purpose it has been constructed for and even, if someone tries to use it, the garbage heap and construction debris poses safety hazard for the riders. The surface of the cycle tracks have been poorly maintained with broken patches at various places along the track.
Mrityunjayeshwar Mandir road, Kothrud
We tried riding cycle on the track located just alongside the canal near Mrityunjayeshwar mandir. But, the track width was too small and also there were obstacles like broken tiles on the track. There is a public toilet constructed on the footpath, which leaves a very little space for the cyclists.
Karve Statue to Paud Phata
We started riding a cycle on the track which starts from Karve statue and ends near Paud Phata flyover. To our surprise, there were stairs constructed in the middle of the footpath, to increase the footpath level. We, actually, had to lift our cycle and cross the patch and again start riding. As we went further, we saw that there was mud dug out on the cycle tracks. It was very uncomfortable to ride a bicycle on this track.
SNDT College road
This is the only well-maintained cycle track with even and wide space for a comfy ride without much obstacles. There are trees on the track, which add to the pleasant atmosphere while cycling.