If exercise allows you to spend time and have fun with the ones you love, there should be no reason to turn it down. This is what Dr Sujit Bopardikar, a dentist from Juhu, realised two years ago when he decided to get fit again.
Children participate in a cycle race organised by Young Cycling Buddies in Bandra. Pic/ Suresh KK
What started as a cycling trip with a neighbour, ended up becoming an elaborate group, Young Cycling Buddies, with over 270 members on Facebook. “Initially, I took my son along and then his friends wanted to join. Soon their parents joined as well and we made regular trips to Bandra Fort. Before returning, we had something to eat and even played some games,” he says.
Slowly, word spread, and the idea of children cycling with a parent caught on. “When more people joined us, we had to make it more organised, and initiated a few rules. We included a disclaimer and preferred a parent on the trip, to take care of their children.”
The core members, constituting the initial group, organise the trips and events. “We have got an overwhelming response, considering our only publicity is through a Facebook page,” says Bopardikar. After initial restrictions, they increased the age cap as many children from 14-20 age group were also interested in it.
The group has travelled to as far as Kanheri Caves within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and last week, over a hundred children took part in a race they had organised in Bandra. “Children from as far as Bhayandar and Thane had cycled upto the venue. There were also some participants from Bengaluru and Pune as well,” he says.
Bopardikar says that even though there are several cycling enthusiasts in the city, they do not have the access to elite, members-only open spaces, and cycling in Mumbai roads is often perilous with the traffic and no cyclist lanes. “I urge the government to take note and encourage this healthy practice,” he suggests.
ON: May 8, 6.30 am onwards
Meeting point: Juhu Road, opposite SNDT College, Santacruz (W).
COST: Rs 50 and bring your own bikes with helmets
CALL: 9892858951 (for updates and schedules)
LOG ON TO: www.facebook.com/groups/273330679535493