GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
LIFE is like cycling, to maintain balance one must keep pedalling. There is no better sight than a man or a woman peddling away uphill in a rhythmic manner. Muscle strength, joint stability, weight loss, stress reduction – benefits of cycling are well known. Very few sport disciplines can teach endurance as effectively as cycling can. Perhaps mankind has not seen another way to commute, other than one’s own legs of course, that totally obey the owner’s command. Unfortunately, cycle transport is looked down upon as a poor man’s vehicle by modern-day cynics and armchair critics. Not many, therefore, are comfortable with cycles as a routine mode of transport to work. Chief Justice of India S A Bobde in the course of a hearing, exhorted lawyers to take to cycling to beat air pollution. Cycling utilises very minimal fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions are not a problem when cycling, and noise pollution is next to nothing. Cycles, obviously, do not throw nitrogen oxides, another group of pollutants emitted by a car or bus. About seven million premature deaths in the world are caused by air pollution due to diesel and petrol. Interestingly, there are studies that prove a cyclist is less exposed to air pollution than a motorist. Cycles do not require batteries, those of cars have to be replaced and the used one cannot be recycled – they produce toxic materials. Conversion of rainforests to rubber plantations is inevitable to meet the demands of the tyres of big vehicles but not for the cycles. Cheap and efficient, compact and steady, healthy and versatile, cycling should have a more serious look-in by politicians, officers and professionals to keep them fit, and more importantly, to keep the air clear and keep traffic jams away.