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  Sports   In Other sports  17 Sep 2017  City’s cyclists get their wheels rolling

City’s cyclists get their wheels rolling

THE ASIAN AGE. | KABEER KHAN
Published : Sep 17, 2017, 1:01 am IST
Updated : Sep 17, 2017, 1:01 am IST

A 104km endurance race and 54km leisure ride will have the city’s biking enthusiasts testing their limits today.

Rohit Kuttapa
 Rohit Kuttapa

Sit back and get ready to cheer the cyclist commuters who will be coming out in numbers for the The Indian Terrain ‘Seven Island Sportive’ event, which will consist of a 104km endurance race, and a 54-km ride. The 104km race will be the competitive leg of the sportive, while the 54km segment will be a leisure ride. The race will start from Hotel Bawa International, Domestic Airport at 6 am today. The top 3 finishers in the Men and Women divisions in the 104km endurance race, will qualify for an accredited championship race (Grand finale) which will be held in Delhi later this year with the winners from the other cities. 

In Mumbai, cycling has always been a never-ending activity. It has connected two different classes of society. The first are people who cannot afford a motor vehicle and the second are those who undertake cycling for leisure. Rohit Kuttapa, CEO of ‘ChooseMyBicycle’, has a vision of bridging this gap with his idea of the race. “We have organised a couple of national-level races with the Cycling Federation of India and now we are moving towards the growth of amateur cyclists. We want to give them a top-class experience to come out and contribute to the growth of the sport. Mumbai has a huge community of cyclists who spend their weekends covering long routes on bicycles,” said Kuttapa.

“While we were organising the race, we contacted all the major cycling groups in Mumbai to understand their requirements so that we could give them the best experience. It was lovely to see the diversities that different groups have,” he adds.

The challenges faced by people who walk or cycle in Mumbai are indisputable and well-documented. However, cycle tracks — which are often proposed as the first solution to cyclists’ woes —  fail when their design and implementation do not take into account the already existing urban fabric. While organising the race, the organisers insisted support from the local traffic police authorities and they were well supported by them. The government itself urges the people of Mumbai to pursue non-motor transportation with the problem of pollution escalating over the years in the city. “When we asked the traffic control and local police, they were very supportive. Even they want less pollution and we also want to encourage people to use less motor transport and switch to environment-friendly methods of commuting, which is one of our initiatives of the race,” said Kuttapa.

Another good news that came for the cyclists was the announcement from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier this week, as he sanctioned `300 crore as his in-principle approval to the proposal of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to construct a cycle track in the city.

A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said the cycle track would be built by clearing all encroachments along water pipelines in Mumbai, which will open a 100-metre wide corridor on both sides. This could very well spark the growth of cyclists in Mumbai.

Tags: rohit kuttapa, chief minister’s office