Although there was great enthusiasm during the second Mumbai Cyclothon on Sunday, participants had a litany of complaints about mismanagement on the part of the organisers.
Last-minute changes in routes, shortage of bicycles on hire and unexpected delays in flagging off the rides were just some of the major problems that riders claimed they were riddled with.
The starting point of the 28 km Amateur Ride, which was to begin from the holding area in Bandra’s MET grounds, was changed to the Sea Link toll naka just hours before the event. Several participants, unaware of this change, did not complete the mandatory two laps of the route, while some others, in confusion, did three laps. “I did just one lap because the road signs were confusing and there was no one to guide the riders,” said Pravin Kumar, 36, an art director.
The 15-km Green Ride turned almost chaotic for some participants, who did not receive the bicycles they had paid for during registrations.
“We registered three months ago, reached the venue on time, and they still claim there are no more cycles,” said Dhananjay Chak, who, along with his friends, angrily demanded refunds of Rs 500 from Cyclothon volunteers before the race.
The ride was finally delayed by nearly 90 minutes so that participants could use cycles returned by Amateur category riders who had finished. This process too, for many, was not smooth.
“We reached the grounds at 6am on the dot, but it feels like a waste of time,” said Priyal Panchal, 18, a college student who had not been given a cycle even 20 minutes after the Green Ride had been flagged off at 9.15 am.
Many riders were also unhappy with the bicycles provided on hire by the organisers.
“The cycle chain kept coming off, and I had to leave the (Amateur) ride incomplete when it finally broke down,” said an upset Abhishek Dubey, 19, who dreams of being a professional cyclist and came all the way from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, to participate in his first big cyclothon.
The glitches, however, did not dampen the spirits of the other participants, volunteers or the audience cheering by the roads. “People were very helpful and during the ride, especially to children who were tripping or skidding,” said Sudeeti Mantraraj, a student.