The worldwide pandemic has impacted us not only economically but also mentally and physically. It has reshaped our lives in many ways. Like many other big cities across the nation, Guwahati also has witnessed a massive growth in the number of cycling enthusiasts during the lockdown.
The silver lining in the dark cloud of the pandemic is that through cycling, people are reminiscing the almost forgotten cycling culture, renewing their habits of cycling to improve their immunity and fight against COVID-19. Many took up cycling for a different cause altogether.
Speaking to EastMojo, Pankaj Deka, a cyclist who was a part of Audax India Randonneurs Marathon, said, “Guwahati has seen a new generation coming up and taking cycling very seriously. This lockdown helped everyone to take part in cycling activities. If we go to a cycling shop, we won’t get a bicycle immediately we actually have to be in the queue. There is even a two-three months waiting period which is great.”
Communities were also formed to help keep the spirit up, and Assam Cycling Community is one such group. It initially started with a WhatsApp group, but later, the members formed an active cycling community, spreading and helping budding cyclists.
Nilutpal Kataki, a young cyclist and a core member of Assam Cycling Community said, “Cycling is only my passion, but also it motivates me to move up in my life and follow my goals.”
For some, cycling is a way to regain their fitness, but for many, it is a passion and women are equally participating. Speaking to Pinti Gogoi who is not only a working woman but also a female cyclist, said, “Cycling is just like happiness. Going for rides in the early morning and also evening, enjoying sunset and sunrise. People should just come forward and go cycling. It is like an adventure. It is just awesome!”
As Guwahati saw a surge in the number of cyclists, the state government took initiatives to construct the first bicycle lane in Dakhingaon area, Kahilipara, which stretches to a kilometre. This was an effort to make Guwahati a more environment-friendly city.
Along with the practice of cycling, markets have also seen a major transformation in response from buyers in recent times. The demands for bicycles have now grown higher as compared to before lockdown.Arunachal: Tawang to boost tourism with cycling.
Bikash Doley, the owner of Spokehub, said, “Worldwide the demands for cycles have grown by four or five times. This year, we see a similar rise in demand. Due to a shortage of stocks, the sale may be less for now, but whatever we sell over a year, we are doing it in two-three months. Who are in the middle-aged, it is surprising to see their interest in bicycling instead of a motorcycle as kids anyway would come up to buy a bicycle. For the middle-aged crowd to come into cycling, that push was needed as fitness is important and because of the situation, people have realised. The age group of the 40s is very active these days.”