World Bicycling Day: Uncover How Cycling Is Transforming Lives In Multiple Ways

World Bicycling Day: Uncover How Cycling Is Transforming Lives In Multiple Ways

Most of us have started cycling from an early age

Sapna SarfareUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2024, 11:36 AM IST
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Most of us have started cycling from an early age. And despite technological advancements, recent times have seen a slow rise in adults taking up cycling and even joining groups for trips. This World Bicycle Day (June 3), let’s see how cycling has changed some cyclists’ lives and helped them in many ways.

The reasons

For PR consultant Devesh Purohit, physical fitness during the COVID and lockdown period made him grab cycling as a hobby. "Being an environmentalist and an advocate of the circular economy, I was more excited. In September 2020, I purchased a bicycle and used to ride almost daily. Later in December, I joined a local group at Valsad and used to ride with them in groups at times, especially on Sunday mornings.”

His cycling passion once made him join his group on a 100 Km ride from Valsad to Mohanpur and back. “Usually other rides were between 40-60 Kms. Later, on my birthday in March 2021, I gifted myself a new B-Twin cycle. This time I was aware of the height, gears and other basic things. I progressed in stamina over time. I could see improvement in mental health too.”

Dr P. Venkata Krishnan, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Artemis Hospitals, reiterates the impact of cycling on mental health. “It can reduce stress and anxiety by promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers. the rhythmic, repetitive nature of cycling can have a meditative effect, helping clear the mind and reduce mental fatigue. Furhermore, being outdoors while cycling exposes people to sunlight, which can enhance mood and increase Vitamin D levels. Additionally, cycling can  boost cognitive function and memory.”

Dhruvin Patel, Director, HOF Furniture, took up cycling for fitness. “I wanted to take up some physical activity and found cycling to be a great option. I started with cycling 10 to 15 km and escalated the same with time. I had a wonderful experience with 100+ km multiple-century rides.”

Pranshu Poddar, Chef and Founder of Soul with a Sole, has enjoyed cycling since childhood and has cycled through Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai as a kid. "However, in 2021, after two surgeries and continuous chronic pain, I was advised to pick up cycling to help with my knees. I got myself a new cycle. It started with cycling on the backroads at sunset. But as my leg started to heal with consistent physiotherapy, I now use my cycle as an efficient mode of transport and can cycle from Goregaon West to Bandra/ Marine etc without much stress.” He, sometimes, cycles to the nearest station. “I take my cycle  in the luggage compartment and cycle around scenic south Bombay streets.”

Life-changer

For most cyclists, this passion has changed their lives. Dhruvin’s personal experience helped him believe that anything with increased consistency helps make life better. “Today’s lifestyle needs some activity and cycling helps both mentally and physically. For me, my fitness level has improved significantly since I started cycling regularly. The energy I gain from cycling in the morning helps me keep refreshed and recharged throughout the day.”

Devesh thinks cycling is great for building community, body and mind relaxation and fitness. “It would also depend on the frequency and intensity one does cycling. It has the potential to change lives as it can help in exploring new places, keeping fitness records through devices, making new friends and exploring new opportunities. It reduces pollution if adopted well by the majority, also helps navigate traffic easily, and gives an eco-friendly option to commute.”

Changing lives

Pranshu’s life changed on many levels thanks to cycling. “I feel that my stamina, lung functioning and muscles have improved since I started cycling. My knee feels much better and in general, feels nicer about the reduced carbon footprint I create when I commute. It’s a low-impact cardio exercise. So, it’s great for people like me with knee injuries or recovering post surgeries. And most importantly, cycling, much like swimming, always brings a smile to my face. I have cycled to SGNP and the caves often where I have run into a few cyclist groups who do these trips. If and when I have the time to do this, one of my ultimate bucket list items is to cycle to Goa from Mumbai.”

Devesh states, “It is a sustainable and climate smart solution for urban areas. Organisations and government authorities should promote it and provide incentives and rewards to the people engaging in cycling as a mode of transport. From ESG perspective, it can help organisations, governments as well as people at large as it will help in declining pollution, promoting healthy lifestyle, reducing vehicles on road and creating an acceptable trend.”

Natasha Khushroo, a housewife,  calls cycling a cheap full-body workout.  “It is an alternative to swimming — a cardio and strength training combined!  I don’t do anything else for my fitness except a 3km ride every morning before my daily chores start.I, quite often tie weights around my ankles to add the strength training bit to my cycling. Going uphill on Malabar hill adds to the task.”

“I would always suggest to people old or young that one good physical activity, cycling, is one such activity. It’s a great sport for introverts to expand their social circle and be inspired by other cycling enthusiasts,” Dhruvin concludes.

Dr P Venkata Krishnan, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Artemis Hospitals, provides tips for regular cycling on short and long distances.

Set clear goals: Establishing clear and achievable goals helps maintain motivation, whether it’s a daily distance, a weekly mileage target, or a specific event.

Plan your route: Choose safe, enjoyable routes that match your skill level and offer you the desired distance.

Maintain your cycle: A well-maintained bike ensures a smoother, safer ride.

Dress appropriately: Wear suitable cycling gear, including a helmet, comfortable clothing, and proper footwear. For longer rides, padded shorts and moisture-wicking fabrics offer more comfort.

Hydrate and fuel: Carry water and healthy snacks, especially on longer rides. It prevents fatigue and helps in maintaining energy levels.

Warm-up and cool-down: Start with a gentle warm-up to prepare your muscles and finish with a cool-down to help recover and reduce stiffness. 

Listen to your body: Adjust your pace and distance to avoid overexertion and injury.

Stay visible and safe: Use lights and wear reflective gear, especially when cycling in low-light conditions. Follow traffic rules and be aware of your surroundings.

Become a part of a community: Riding with others can keep you motivated and make cycling more enjoyable.

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