I’m passionate about bicycles. Wind-in-the-face situation, powerful feeling in the legs and all that. However, it is very difficult for a bicycle to become an alternate mode of transport for people here in India. Exercise, yes. But serious transport, no deal.
For one, the distances are great and the roads are busy. We have no special bicycle lanes and that exposes us to the risk of heavy vehicles on regular roads. No deal.
Heat. India is a hot and humid place to stay in. You cycle for fifteen minutes and your back is wet with sweat. So is the rest of you. Not a good idea to go to work with a sweaty body. Not a good idea to go to college with a sweaty body. No deal.
Effort, baby. Too much effort for our own good needs to be put in a cycle. Better to be energetic than be tired by the time we reach our destination.
Solution is an electric vehicle. We need to figure out a way to run vehicles on available sources of clean energy around us. Fossil Fuels should be on the way out and these things should be shown the red carpet. Brains have been racked enough. It is time to take the plunge.
However, Henning Thomsen [architect and culture & communications manager at Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects] believes that we need to create a safe bicycling environment. Also, an effort should be made to discourage use of cars. Like in London, where they have hiked car parking fees.
Bicycles do give us higher mobility, are a good way to exercise and do not employ the use of fossil fuels. But are they really feasible in India except for the poor? Poor, only because they wont be able to afford green tech in vehicles anytime soon.
Bicycles are amazing for exercise. Not anything else.
For serious transport, what we need are vehicles that do not run on fossil fuels.
And we need to find a way around that real soon.