There’s been a surge in cycling enthusiasts in the city after easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.(Keshav Singh/HT)
There’s been a surge in cycling enthusiasts in the city after easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.(Keshav Singh/HT)

Covid-19 effect: Cycling now trending among Chandigarh fitness enthusiasts

Bicycle sales are increasing, old machines are coming in for repairs as people take to cycling with a vengeance after lockdown restrictions ease
By Saurabh Duggal | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON JUN 15, 2020 08:20 PM IST

Chandigarh For the last two years Shubham Karkra, 18, was regularly pumping iron till gymnasiums across the country closed down because of the Covid-19 lockdown. So when restrictions were lifted but gyms were not allowed to open by the UT administration, Karkra switched over to cycling.

For the past one month, his daily fitness schedule includes two hours of cycling. “Unable to go to the gym in the current scenario, I find cycling the best alternative, followed by some exercises for biceps,” says this Class 12 student who lives in Sector 51.

Like Shubham, a number of fitness enthusiasts across the tricity have found a new love in cycling during the Covid-19 period.

Among them is Umrao Singh, 27, who had once formed a motorbike club, Thunders, with his college friends dedicated to their love for the Enfield Bullet Thunderbird. Members, who over the years got stuck in the career race and forgot about the club, are now back – but the motorbikes have been replaced by bicycles.

Ideal for long rides

Since the last month, weekends are reserved for long cycling trips. “We have started organising road trips after quite some time, but now we’re on bicycles. Now, every Sunday around eight to 10 of our friends take off on a long trip. This Sunday we went to Timber Trail, cycling for around 100km,” says Umrao, an engineer and resident of Sector 46. “Apart from getting us back together, cycling helps us remain fit and it’s fun too,” he adds

Sukhpreet Kaur, 28, an engineer working with Infosys has also discovered a new passion in cycling. “I started last month. Earlier my fitness routine revolved around the gym, but now it’s one hour of cycling in the morning and at times I go for a walk,” says this resident of Sector 22. “Either I cycle around my sector or go to Sukhna lake.”

Cycling has always been associated with the city designed by French architect Le Corbusier and because of its cycling track, Chandigarh stands out among Indian cities, often drawing comparison to other European cities, where cycles are a popular mode of transport.

The city’s iconic Sukhna Lake too is now turning into a ‘cyclist’s paradise’.

“It’s been decades since I worked out, but last month when the lockdown was lifted, I thought of buying a cycle and initially got one without a gear. However, it was difficult to pedal on long routes, so, after 10 days, I bought another one with gears. Now my daily circuit is around 50 to 60 km and the lake is a part of my daily cycling route,” says 54-year-old advocate Vikas Cuccria, a resident of Sector 39.

Sales increase

The sale of bicycles has increased to four to five folds in the last one month. “Earlier before the lockdown we used to sell around two cycles a day, now we are touching eight. A lot of machines are coming in for repairs as people who were not using them are now cycling regularly,” says Manjeet Singh, store manager of Firefox Cycles in Sector 22.

“We have over 200 active runners in our running group Chandigarh Runners and in the last one month, over 50 of our members have included cycling in their fitness regimen. These days they are spending more time cycling than running,” says fitness freak Jaspreet Kaur, a mother of two, who runs and cycles to stay fit and healthy.

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