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Mumbai cyclists on the fast track in Bandra

Kavita Kanan Chandra| Mumbai 25 Apr 2011, Vol 2 Issue 16

Mumbai’s efforts to go green received a major fillip Sunday when Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated the city’s first cycling track at Bandra – Kurla Complex (BKC). The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) built 12-km track is expected to encourage more city dwellers to use bicycles to commute to work, and ease congestion on the roads.

The cycling track was inaugurated on the occasion of the ‘BSA Hercules India Cyclothon – Mumbai 2011’, organized by Sport 18 (the sports marketing division of Network 18 group) and TI Cycles (manufacturers of BSA, and Hercules bicycles.)

The enthusiasm of over 6000 participants was quite evident as they started assembling from 5 AM in the morning at BKC, Mumbai’s largest commercial hub. Participants, young and old, had turned out wearing their bib shorts, and helmets. The event was held in support of a greener tomorrow, animal welfare and paediatric cardiac care.

Cycling heroes: Amandeep Singh of the Indian Railways won the 60-km race in the competitive category. Rakesh Kumar and Sachin Kumar secured the second and third places.  

The ride categories included the competitive ‘national elite men’s race’ (60 Km) which had 118 cyclists from across the country. It was the first race flagged off by Gajan Galla, the president of the Cycling Federation of India.

The non-competitive sponsored rides included the Corporate ride (20 Km), the Amateurs ride for health (20 Km), Green ride (10 Km) and junior ride for children (6 Km).

In the competitive category, cyclists from Indian Railways, Amandeep Singh and Rakesh Kumar won the first and second spots. The winner got Rs.1.5 lakhs. The total prize money for the race was Rs 5 lakhs.

In a city where cars hold their sway and cycling is a rarity, the Mumbaikars were more than happy to just pedal along and ride freely on roads which are otherwise crowded with vehicles. “Such events bring cyclists together, and help in creating environmental awareness,” said Jatin Lodaya, a chartered accountant and avid cyclist. He took to cycling when he found that as his career progressed, life became more sedentary and personal health got neglected.

Bollywood star Imran Khan, Miss Earth 2010 Nicole Faria, F1 racer Karun Chandok, Parliamentarians Milind Deora and Priya Dutt were among the celebrities present to support the cause.

“The cycling culture here is becoming quite strong and we intend to further strengthen it by emphasizing upon the fitness and environmental benefits of cycling,” said D Raghuram, President TI Cycles.

Satish Menon, CEO Sport 18 promised to be back next year.
 

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