Pedalling for pleasure & fitness: Cyclists hit the road once againUpdated: Jun 01, 2020 17:06 IST
Before Lockdown 1.0, “No helmet, no ride!” was the standard warning to members in all cycling groups in the city . In simple words, it meant a rider sans a helmet would be turned back.
But since Lockdown 4.0 began, there is an added warning: “No mask, no ride!”.
In the interim period cycling groups suspended all organised rides but now they have hit the roads again.
“Yes, we are back”, said Dr Imran Khan, 38, a medical professional and an avid bicyclist, who rode along with Kushagra Kapoor, a businessman, Yashesh Vyas, an architect and Shad Zaman, a marketing professional with a telecom giant.
Khan said: “Covid-19 had confined cyclists too indoors and we survived by various fitness regimens. But they all pale against riding outdoors in a natural environment”.
Shad Zaman, 41, says: “We rode maintaining social distance and following safety protocols.”
Shad maintained a gruelling indoor fitness regimen with weight training, yoga, breathing exercises, burpees, indoor running and whatnot. But he swears by outdoor cycling. He took to cycling 4 years ago when at 37 most of his medical parameters--from knee condition to lipid profile--all rang alarm bells.
“Now, I am fit as a fiddle,” says Shad. In work from home (WFH) mode, Shad says he will resume his four days a week cycling routine now with 200 km per week.
Vandana Mishra, 41, while talking about the resumption of her daily cycling routine, brings in ‘mind’. An entrepreneur, homemaker, mother of two adolescents, a cyclist, biker, runner, and pursuing a PhD in psychology, Vandana says: “Pedalling during the lockdown was the safest bet for maintaining sanity. The daily cycling routine brought in the much-needed catharsis.”
“Covid-19 has brought in tremendous stress and anxiety for all age groups. And what better way can there be than to pedal away worries, exploring new trails each day,” she says.
While all these riders are members of multiple cycling groups in the city, not all groups have resumed organised group rides. So, most cyclists these days are either riding solo or in small sub-groups. The Cyclopedia group’s manager Vishal Sharma says: “We ride in small groups and follow Covid-19 safety protocols. Earlier, we all held refreshment parties mid-way or at the end of the rides, but not anymore.”
5 AM, PLEASE:
Major Gaurav Mathur (retired), 72, who founded Pedal Pushers cycling group, says: “We are not resuming yet. We find lifting of curfew at 7 am a bit skewed. Let shops and establishments stay closed till 7 am or 8 am, but morning walkers, runners, cyclists should be allowed. At 4 am, curfew should end for people like us. I suppose the government wants people to strengthen their immunity. All experts say that strong immunity is a shield against Covid-19. Exercising in the morning improves health and immunity. If people continue to stay indoors, then even healthy ones would end up with weakened immunity. The summer heat has risen. We will not resume until the curfew ends entirely or at least end each day by 5 am.” A daily rider, Major Mathur, did not ride even a day since February 23.
Dr Imran Khan, medical professional and a rider supports Major Mathur on immunity idea but emphasises pedalling. He says: “Ourdoor cycling is a moderate impact exercise and has great cardio benefits. It improves breathing, circulation, and immunity, which helps in fighting Covid-19.”