After 25 years, Anindya Sundar Dutta has decided to ride a bicycle. He repaired his daughter’s cycle that was lying at a corner of the house for three years so that he can reach his Theatre Road office from his Baguiati residence.
With curbs being eased, fear of catching coronavirus on public transport has led to a boom in cycle-to-work plan. Moreover, the limited passenger policy on public vehicle has made many to either buy a cycle or repair their old ones for their daily commute as it will be economical and safe.
Student Titas Ray has started practising with her old cycle since she has been out of touch for several years. Private sector employee Debashish Mondal has already purchased a cycle to travel to his work place which is within 6km from his home.
Pankaj Sardar, security guard at a government office, recently borrowed a cycle to travel to his Lakshmikantapur home to check the extent of damage caused by Amphan.
To promote cycling, Guruchandali, a publishing house, has started ‘bicycle book delivery’ in the city and its suburbs during this lockdown. Adventure cyclist Arghya Mondol has taken part in this initiative and is cycling long stretches within the city to deliver books.
Rantideb Ray of Guruchandali said they wanted to encourage an alternative idea which is environment friendly. “We are delivering all kinds of books to the people who are contacting us. This initiative not only helping us to cater to customers, who don’t need to step out of their homes now, but is also generating employment and restarting publishing businesses,” said Ray.
WHO and other international organisations have already recommended to “consider riding bicycles as an alternative primary mode of transport to restore normalcy after lockdown and ensure physical distance”. Satanjib Gupta of ‘Bicycle Mayor’ feels that the pandemic has given them an opportunity to consider cycling as an important mode of commute as it will be environment friendly and economical. The organization has written an open letter to CM Mamata Banerjee highlighting the need to promote cycle as a primary, safe and happy mode of transport particularly after Covid-19 outbreak.
Convenor of Kolkata Cycle Samaj, Raghu Jana, also urged government to make cycles functional on city streets after lockdown is eased.
Amid lockdown, cycle has also come to the rescue of people in emergencies. When Harinabi resident Tapan Saha’s mother got seriously ill at their Jadavpur residence and needed hospitalization, Subhamoy Bhattacharya arranged an e-cycle from his start-up Kionic that helped Saha to reach his mother on time and get her admitted to a hospital.
Cycling activist Shamik Sarkar feels that those with cycles is a little more empowered than the rest in these hours.
Source: Times of India