Chale Chalo: Pedal for a healthy life | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Chale Chalo: Pedal for a healthy life

A recent research led by Dr Audrey De Nazelle from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London shows that people who drive cars are on an average 4kg heavier than those who cycle. So why not join a cycling group, to be fit and healthy?

health and fitness Updated: Aug 20, 2016 18:21 IST
Delhi Cyclists

Cycling groups in Delhi-NCR. 

Remember the good old days when you used to cycle down to the kirana store at the end of the lane? Or those evenings spent pedalling around the locality with your friends? Cycling has always been an intrinsic part of our lives, and now, as grown-ups, we are reclaiming it for more reasons than one.

Even a research by Dr Audrey De Nazelle from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London shows that people who drive cars are on an average 4kg heavier than those who cycle. “Cycling helps people get out of their comfort zone. When people cycle in a group, it also motivates them to push boundaries,” says Gaurav Wadhwa, co-founder of Delhi Cyclists. Let’s take a look at some cycling clubs in Delhi-NCR that meet regularly and go on rides across the city. You can even connect with them on their Facebook pages.

Delhi Cyclists provides a technical backup in case a bike breaks down. (Zehra Warsi)

Delhi Cyclists

Delhi Cyclists started in 2010 with only 4 members, but now has 9,000 members. They ride thrice a week (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday), and cover places like Akshardham, NH8 and NH1. “We meet at the bike shop at Green Park Metro Station. On Wednesdays, we have a zippy ride where we cover 40 km, but on Saturdays, we hold longer rides that go upto 100 km,” says Gaurav Wadha, co-founder.

For every ride, a technical backup is provided in case a bike breaks down. “We have two cars, one in the lead and the other that trails the group, to ensure safety of the riders,” adds Wadhwa. The 3 Cs of benefits of cycling, as explained by Wadhwa, are “commitment, community building and (getting out of the) comfort zone.” His advice for first-time riders is to practice for at least a week before joining any group so that the distance does not daunt them.

South West Riders has a strict “no helmet, no ride” policy. (Saurabh Kapur)

South West Riders

Formed in 2014, South West Riders is a Dwarka-based cycling club that focuses on promoting fitness, and cycling as an environment-friendly mode of commute. The group starts the ride at 5:30am and sees a footfall of around 35 people.

“We tend to cover 40-45 km in a day, and cover places like Najafgarh, Sultanpur Sanctuary and India Gate. People are not even aware that they can cycle for such distances, and this is how being in a group helps them. We help people go beyond what their limit,” says Saurabh Kapur, co-founder. The group has a strict “no helmet, no ride” policy, and is open for all.

Read: Cycle of change: Mumbai’s biking communities are making the bicycle popular again

West Delhi Cyclists rides take place on weekends and cover up to 40 km. (West Delhi Cyclists)

West Delhi Cyclists

West Delhi Cyclists was formed in 2013, and has about 400 active cyclists. The rides take place on weekends and cover up to 40 km.

“There were no cycling clubs in West Delhi, and this gave me the idea to form one. We meet at Hari Nagar Bus Depot and ride to places like Qutub Institutional Area and Sanjay Van,” says Siddharth Chatrath, founder.

Joining a cycling club helps you build inter-personal skills, and also promotes a healthy living. “Cycling is a welcome change to your daily workout routine. Our riders have become so used to cycling now that they use cycling as a mode of regular commute as well,” adds Chatrath.

North Delhi Cyclists is a community of 2,500 members.

North Delhi Cyclists

The group, formed in 2013, had 5-6 members initially, but is now a 2,500 member strong community. They ride daily, starting at 5:30 am, and cover around 40 km. The riders cover places like University Grounds, Bonta Park and T3 Terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The group follows certain ground rules which makes wearing a helmet and gloves compulsory. “We also have a ‘head and tail’ policy, where one person leads the group and one rides at the end, ensuring that no one is left behind,” says Sachit Kochhar, co-founder. He adds, “Cycling in groups not only improves your health, but also lets you meet like-minded people who are passionate about cycling. We have people in our group who cycle to work instead of taking their car,” says Kochhar.

Gurgaon Girl Riders spread awareness on pollution free environment.

Gurgaon Girl Riders(GRR)

Initiated by Anita Singh, a professional cyclist, this Gurgaon group is for women only. With an aim to promote non-polluting modes of transport, GRR organises morning rides to nearby areas such as Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Qutub Minar and Damdama Lake every weekend.

“We are a group of people who wish to live in a pollution-free environment. We don’t restrict ourselves to professional cyclists and anyone can join us to be healthy and active,” said Singh.

The group goes for cycling in the wee hours of the day, keeping the safety concerns in mind. “Before starting our ride, we mark some common points where we meet. We ride in groups carrying pepper sprays with us to be safe,” adds Singh.

Currently, the group has 70 members from all walks of life.

Spinlife India trains people for 20km to 1200 km.

Spinlife India

‘Rode all night, from midnight till 6 am and covered 150 km ride in 5 hours at 26.7 kmph and as always I will call it Life at its best’ says a post on Spinlife’s Facebook page. With a focus on fitness, the group organises regular cycling events through the city during nights also.

“We formed this group in 2011 August and also train people for 20 km to 1200 km rides. Before rides, we organise workshops to make people learn about technicalities like right postures, how to fix new tube in tire, how to clean the bike, how to fix punctures, what is the right nutrition and many more things,” says Gautam Verma, the founder.

The group is spread all over Gurgaon and west and north parts of Delhi and spread awareness on choosing the right gear to ensure a safe cycling trip. The starting point of the group are Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, India bulls NH 8, Punjabi Bagh Club, Delhi, Gopinath Market Delhi.

Gurgaon Fun Riders kick-off their ride from Gurgaon-Faridabad Road.

Gurgaon Fun Riders

This group started cycle rides four years ago. “I like to promote outdoor games. Even if we walk, we can only walk few kilometers but while cycling one can cover major distance without much efforts. Cycling is one of the best ways to lead a healthy life,” says Gagandeep Singh Bhalla, founder of the group.

The maximum distance the group has covered is from India Gate to Wagah Border. “We organise rides everyday at Gurgaon-Faridabad Road and people can connect to us through our Facebook page,” adds Bhalla.

Read: City roads not safe for cyclists