Indore’s first Cyclothon got off to a blazing start on a chilly Sunday morning with a crowd of fans flanking roads and cheering fun bikers who seemed more focused on paddling their laps out than winning the event.
Cyclothon-2015, split into four categories, drew a record 20,000 -odd participants, according to the Cycling Federation of India (CFI), which had organised the event in sponsorship with Hero Cycles.
Cycling Federation of India assistant secretary VN Singh said that turnout was the proof how cycling was becoming popular in India and could be an answer to the rising air pollution and health problems.
He said about 8,000 cyclists had participated in the 2009 Cyclothon held at Bangaluru which went down in the cycling history as one of the most successful events. However, the Indore event has beaten all records in terms of participation and would inspire other cites to host the event for the green cause, Singh said.
Earlier, Union minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Jawadekar flagged off the event at 6 am from the Sayaji Square in the presence of Indore MP and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, Indore Development Authority (IDA) chairman Shankar Lalwani.
The event covered Sayaji Square, Vijasan Road and the MR-10 Super Corridor. The black tyre marks on the roads were witness to the cycling zeal the participants exhibited. The police and district administration officials were seen handing over water bottles and first-aid to those who required them.
C Rajesh of Railways, Komal Deshmukh of Maharashtra emerged winners in men and women pro-elite race (80 and 40 kilometre) respectively. The duo received a cash prize of `5 lakh and `75,000 respectively.
The race was held in four major categories comprised of men’s pro-elite (80-km-criterion), amateur cycle race (60 km), women pro-elite (40-km) and amateur cycle race (25-km). Apart, fun ride (12-km) and junior ride (9-km) was also held for novice.
The cyclists went up to the Vijasan Road (the end point of the Super Corridor) according to their participation category, passing through areas such as Bapat Square, Chandragupt Mourya Square, MR-10 ROB, Bhoransala square and the super-corridor.
However, the event proved to be a nightmare for office-goers, flight catchers and the patients who were forced to wait between 5 am and 12 noon or take a long route to their destination as all the roads were blocked for the event.
“It was a tough time for us as we had to travel a few extra kilometres to reach our destination,” said a chartered accountancy aspirant Pooja Gaur, resident of Sukhliya. Another resident Shubham Pagare of Scheme No 74 had to take the VIP Route No 1 instead of the MR-10 and Super Corridor to pick his guests from the airport. “The detour made me travel extra eight kilometers and took 30 minutes more than the usual time. But thank God, I reached the airport on time,” he said.