Why don’t 5-star hotels welcome bicycles? asks ‘cyclist’ Sonali Kulkarni

Mumbai: Actor Sonali Kulkarni has two complaints about five-star hotels. First, they serve “bad” tea which costs a bomb, and second, many of them do not allow bicycle parking. The second complaint may seem a bit unusual, but the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ actor, who regularly uses her single gear bicycle to run errands, says that on occasions she doesn’t feel embarrassed to take her bicycle to luxury hotels.

“I have ridden to even script narration meetings at five-star hotels on my bicycle…I am not ashamed of bicycle,” said the 43-year-old filmstar. However, some five-star hotels do not allow bicycle parking, she said, talking about her passion for cycling at ‘Cycle Katta’, a gathering of bicycle lovers in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Sonali, who grew up in Pune, said after her schooldays, when she rode bicycle everywhere, she rediscovered cycling after she became a star and settled in Mumbai.

“I use bicycle when I run errands like buying veggies, or go out for my weekly fix of coconut water,” said the actor, who rode to the ‘katta’ (a place where people meet and talk) at the Maharashtra Nature Park in Sion on her bicycle on Sunday morning.

“Cars have parking issues. And why burn fuel unnecessarily?” she asked. At the same time, the actor, who has also completed triathlons, stressed that cyclists must follow rules. “I never ride without a helmet,” she said, because if someone were to click her picture without a helmet and post it on social media, it would set a bad example for amateur cyclists.

The actor said she hates the supercilious attitude, which those who travel in “air-conditioned cars”, have towards pedestrians. “I respect those who walk,” she said, while ruing that all road infrastructure is designed for motorists, but no thought is given to pedestrians.
Speaking at the gathering, Chetan Shah of the Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts, which has over 15,000 members, also complained about the discrimination cyclists face at places such as posh hotels and multiplexes.

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