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Bangalore cycles for cause of environment, fitness


Bangalore: Cycling as a fun and sporting event received a major boost in India’s IT-hub Bangalore as around 6,000 enthusiasts took part in BSA Hercules Cyclothon Bengaluru ’09 here Sunday.

The cyclothon with primary focus on fitness and environment protection had competitive events, along with fun ride event for youngsters between eight and 12 years.

The BSA Hercules Cyclothon Bengaluru ’09 was jointly organised by TI Cycles of India, manufacturers of BSA Hercules cycles, and Sport18, a media house.

The event was flagged off at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) (about 20 km from MG Road in the heart of the city) and proceeded through the length of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), moving on to Bannerghatta Road and concluding at BIEC.

“It is heartening to see the cyclothon’s dual message of environmental responsibility and health awareness resonating positively with the city’s cycling community supporting the event in such large numbers,” Karnataka Sports Minister Gulahathi Shekhar said while flagging off the event.

The 35-km competition called Elite was for professionals, competitive athletes and amateurs. The other events were Corporate Race (25 km), Green Race (25 km), Teen Ride (13-17 years, five km), and Fun Ride (8-12 years, two kilometres).

The men’s 35-km Elite race was won by Sabu Ganegar, a 19-year-old currently getting trained at the national camp in Patiala. The second place was bagged by rider Sachin Panwar of Delhi. The third place went to Sharwan Bambu of Rajasthan.

In the women’s 35-km Elite race, the first place was won by K. Suchitra Devi who is also getting trained at the national camp in Patiala. The second and third places were won by Nilanmma Maligawad of Karnataka and Mahita Mohan from the national camp.

Along with participants from all walks of life and belonging to age groups from eight to eighty years, the event also had a good dose of celebrity presence, including popular Kannada actress Pooja Gandhi and billiards champion Pankaj Advani.

“Cycling is an activity that if adopted seriously benefits not only the individual but also the environment where one lives. The support we have received has been tremendous. The event open to one and all has brought the cycling enthusiasts together in a first ever platform of this kind promoting cycling not only as a fun activity but also increasingly as a mode of short commute as well,” said L. Ramkumar, managing director of TI Cycles.

Bangalore’s cycling enthusiasts feel that events like this would encourage more people to take up cycling, which will not only help people to keep fit but will also help in solving the traffic congestion on city roads.

The main grouse of the cyclists across the city is that riding a bicycle on Bangalore’s busy roads is hazardous.

“If dedicated cycling lanes are provided, many enthusiasts may be ready to use them. Dedicated lanes will ensure a safer journey for the cyclists,” said Shiva Kumar, a cycling enthusiast.

Pallav Som, an IT professional who participated in the corporate race category, said: “It was a great event and I enjoyed participating here. I love cycling and it was great to see so many like-minded people here.”