For finance professional Rishu Shah, who cycles nearly 30km almost every day, the 28-km amateur race in the Mumbai Cyclothon will be a mere cake walk.
But the avid cyclist will participate in the race this Sunday for the sheer spirit of an event that he believes is a reflection of the city’s growing enthusiasm for a healthy and eco-friendly sport.
“Two years ago one could barely spot people cycling on the streets in the mornings, but now cyclists are as visible as morning joggers,” said Shah, 35, a member of cyclists.in, a cycling club that organises long weekend rides for pedalling enthusiasts in the city.
The group is also helping to publicise and garner registrations for Tour de Mumbai, the second annual Mumbai Cyclothon organised by ID Sports.
Last year’s cyclothon saw more than 7,000 participants in the non-professional rides, and organisers expect to cross the 9,000 mark this year.
More than 4,000 participants have already registered, but registrations will remain open till Sunday morning. Show up at Bandra’s MET grounds for spot registrations and don’t forget to take your own bicycle as the ones on hire are fully booked.
To be held in and around Bandra on Sunday, the event will include cycle races in five categories — the professional 108 km International Elite Race, the Amateur Ride for 28 km, the Corporate and Green Rides for 14.8 km and the 3-km Kids’ Ride.
Like the Mumbai Marathon that takes place in January, the highlight of the cyclothon route for most participants is the stretch over the Bandra-Worli sea link.
“It’s great to ride on the sea link without any traffic around. I can ride at my own pace and enjoy the breeze and view,” said Upasna Saimy, 24, an Andheri resident who cycles daily to her office 15 minutes away from home. The architect has registered for the Green Ride, but will actually be riding all the way from home to Bandra and back.
While Saimy and her friends will participate for the pleasure of cycling, Shah and his group have a wider aim.
“The idea is to spread awareness about the need for this city to accept cycling as a means of regular travel, so as to reduce traffic and pollution,” said Shah.