Lance Armstrong’s seven wins at the Tour de France may no longer find a mention in record books, but he did inspire a generation to take up the sport. Now an event similar to the historic cycling race in France is slowly taking shape in India. Called Tour de India, the race features Indian and international cyclists and will be spread across three cities — Mumbai, Srinagar and Delhi. The first leg of the event, supported by the Cycling Federation of India, will take place in the city on December 2.
“Our experience at conducting cyclothons in the past has shown that people accept cycling as a sport and don’t limit it to a hobby. With Tour de India, we have taken our first step towards ensuring that India has a cycling culture. We expect a total of 10,000 participants in Mumbai and Delhi. An international contingent of 80 riders and 30 Indian cyclists will cycle across all three cities,” says Dr Akil Khan, MD, ID Sports. The races in Mumbai and Delhi will be divided into different categories like amateurs, masses and the international cyclists’ race. However, Srinagar will only be a thorough professional cycling race.
In Mumbai, the race will commence at the Bandra-Worli Sea link and go all the way to the Air India Building passing Worli Seaface and the Queen’s Necklace. Those without a cycle can also participate as 1,000 cycles are being provided on hire at an additional charge. Each participant will also be handed a kit. “It will consist of a helmet, a certificate to certify the participation of the holder, a medal to acknowledge and encourage the rider, a bottle of water, and a bib,” says Khan.
The plan is to ensure that Tour de India becomes an annual event and, a la Tour de France, spreads across 21 days and various locations. Khan says, “We plan to add more locations in the coming years, including some beautiful stretches of Kerala and Himachal Pradesh as well.”
It is important to choose the right cycle. It should be one that suits your body type and is user-friendly.
Lighten the load on your cycle and carry only essentials like a bottle of water and glucose biscuits.
The correct costume includes cycling shorts, wrist bands and sunglasses.
As a precautionary measure, a helmet is a must, along with a basic cycle tool kit.
Legs, arm and back exercises make for a good warm-up session before cycling.
Registration fee is Rs 600. For Mumbai participants, the last date for registration is December 1, 8 pm. For registration, log on to