In a bid to promote cycling, the Chennai Corporation announced the introduction of a new fleet of electric SmartBikes last week. In line with this, residents said that cycling has emerged as a clean, convenient and health-conscious means of transportation during the shutdown.
For many parents, cycling is an effective means to keep their children entertained and fit at once. It also serves as a bonding exercise between the family and is a safe means for children to spend time with their peers without risk of infection.
According to Balaji Prasad, secretary of We Are Chennai Cycling Group, there has been an increase in interest in cycling during the shutdown. “When speaking to people in the industry, I’ve been told that many are buying cycles during the shutdown, not only for the health benefit but also due to the environmental impact. Locals have seen how the environment has flourished during this time, and want to do their bit to maintain it,” he said.
Through the use of social media, cycling enthusiasts are attempting to promote this habit to make it sustain. “The enemy of a cycle is a scooter. The reach of SmartBike is restricted to those who have access to it. We want to keep this momentum up after the shutdown, but it might be difficult to do so. The shutdown will continue in different levels, so by then we hope some people will take to it,” said Felix John, cycling enthusiast and Chennai’s bicycle mayor.