As the world goes through a difficult time, people are taking up cycling as a way of reconnecting with the world while maintaining the norm of social distancing. In fact ever since the lockdown, the sale of bicycles have surged upto 40% in India.
As a part of Unlock 1.0, a lot of cities in India have permitted cycling between 5 am to 7 pm. “Post lockdown phase has be handled more carefully than a lockdown phase. Like every crisis, Coronavirus also brings in new opportunities. In two months we have seen air quality and environment improving. We have to hold onto this and make earth cleaner and greener,” said Pankaj Munjal, Managing Director of Hero Cycles.
Globally, especially in Europe cycling since the reopening of its market has witnessed an record surge. People are using bicycles more than ever to commute to work rather than using public transport.
European cities like Paris, London, Barcelona, Vienna, Milan, Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels, Rome etc. are scrambling to set up hundreds of kilometres of new bicycle paths and working on widening the existing ones.
Cycling isn’t only safe and healthy for us but is also helping the environment heal. It’s a known fact that prior to the lockdown the atmosphere was deteriorating because of pollution caused by vehicles. Ever since the lockdown, the air pollution levels took a massive dip by 40-50% in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, as reported by a European Satellite System.
“It’s only now that people are realising the importance of cycling, as it’s the most physically-distanced mode of transportation. Now, switching to cycling will be the most logical ways as people will be hesitant to use shared mobility like cabs, public transport like buses, trains and auto-rickshaws,” said Bicycle Mayor of Mumbai, Firoza Suresh.
For some, cycling is a means of staying fit and reconnecting with the world but, for some people cycling is a means of survival. We have all heard of Jyoti Kumari, a 15-year-old girl who cycled 1,200 kms from the outskirts of New Delhi all the way to her village carrying her injured father. The girl has been breaking the internet ever since her video got viral.
But, Kumari is not alone, a lot of migrant workers have travelled thousands of kilometers on a bicycle just to reach home amongst this lockdown.
So, whether a cycle is chosen in semi-urban and rural landscape for healthcare, emergency and delivery services or as a tool by an aspirational customer to stay fit, the country can walk towards decongestion, healthier habits and cleaner environment.