Mumbai rains: Some office-goers cycle to work as trains halt

With the incessant rains halting the city's lifeline local trains, many office-goers today bicycled to work, calling it the best alternative to reach their destinations in time.

"There was water logging in many pockets, which leads to all the motorised vehicles getting stuck. There is no issue like this for me as I dragged the bicycle in those waist-deep waters at Kings Circle," said Vikas Chavan, who works for a publishing company in downtown Fort area.

A milkman wades through a water logged road after heavy rains near Dadar in Mumbai on Friday. Pic/PTI

It started off like any other day for Chavan, a recreational cyclist. He went to the Koparkhairane railway station in the  morning, only to find that the famed train network has collapsed due to overnight heavy downpour.

The decision to cycle the around 40-km distance to work was instantaneous, a "natural alternative", he says,  sounding excited about the experience and the fact that he was among the few staffers who made it.

On any other day, 30-year-old Kunal Sutar is one among the scores of Mumbaikars who takes the train each morning, "just another face in the crowd" he says, but today, he was in the happy minority which was unaffected by the  stoppage in train services.

"I went back home from Andheri station, changed into different clothes and took out my cycle," Sutar, an employee of the state-run IDBI Bank, said.

He did the 25-km journey from home to the central business district of Nariman Point in around an hour, which is broadly the same time as it would take by a train.

It can be noted that over 600 cyclists from the city recently rode to work on the occasion of the World Environment Day.

Both Chavan and Sutar pointed out the infrastructure in the city makes it difficult for a cyclist, but were unanimous in saying that on a day like today, every person they passed, including those in cars stuck in the traffic, were congratulating them for adopting this mode.

"There was a huge traffic snarl near Chunabhatti and I could easily negotiate by going through the cars. At times when I had no option, I just went to the pavement, lifted my cycle and marched ahead," Chavan said.

Parking the bicycles was, however, a big trouble as the watchmen used to parking bulky four wheelers had to be convinced to allow the humble bicycle.

The experiences were varied but the joy of having made it to work was very satisfying, they said.

Sutar said his seniors at work also formally appreciated his efforts at a team lunch.

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