The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a fundamental shift in our lives and more people are now adapting a healthy lifestyle. And since gyms and other indoor fitness activities remained shut for a long time after the lockdown was eased out, cycling has emerged as a preferred form of exercising for a large number of fitness enthusiastic Amdavadis. Most city cycling clubs have seen a rise in the number of new entrants who now want to adapt cycling as a form of exercising as well as a way of connecting with nature after remaining cooped up at home for more than four months.
City cycling clubs see a sizable increase in the number of riders
Even though the gyms and other indoor fitness activities have been allowed to reopen, many Amdavadis still prefer outdoor activities citing safety concerns. This has resulted in a rise in the number of people joining cycling clubs. “Post lockdown, the number of riders in our group has gone up considerably as people prefer outdoor fitness activities more and cycling is one of the best options,” says Harsh Bajaj, who organises cycle rides in the city. He adds, “People of all age groups between 18-65 come for our weekly rides and we are anticipating this number to rise further in coming weeks.”
While fitness is a primary reason for an increased interest, getting a chance to spend some time with nature has further fuelled the trend, especially since the lockdown kept most of us constrained to the four walls of our homes. “Cycling is a complete exercise and going for a ride with your group also makes it fun,” says Nikita Lalwani, a cycling enthusiast from the city. She adds, “We recently went to Thol and it was a wonderful experience.”
Fitness and fun with safety measures in place
From sanitising rental cycles beforehand, to taking shorter stop-overs and maintaining proper distance while riding, cyclists ensure that they follow all safety protocols. “It is a lot easier to maintain proper social distancing and following other safety norms while you cycle outdoors compared to being in a gym or other indoor fitness activities,” says Sharvin Patel, a pharma professional and a cycling enthusiast. He adds, “Unlike earlier, we have now reduced our reporting time to 10 minutes and we take shorter stop-overs to ensure safety. Wearing a mask while cycling is not advisable, but we all wear masks when we take a pit-stop.”
Longer rides are a hit with the cyclists
With more relaxations in rules and an increased interest in fitness, city cyclists are taking longer rides as well. “When we resumed our cycling activities after the lockdown, we were taking shorter rides, but now people are even doing 100 kms a day,” says Vinod Purohit, manager of a cycling club in the city. He adds, “But we are not organising any events like we used to before COVID due to safety issues, rather people from our club are individually getting together in smaller groups for longer rides.”