Noida, what’s your pedal log today? 40km, 50km or 80km?

You might have heard of people cycling to work, but have you heard of these extreme green-commuters, whose eat up as much as 30-80km per day?
Noida has several cycling clubs where people get together to cycle on the weekends. Then there are those who want to reduce their carbon footprint and cycle for finishing chores or even commuting to work. And taking the work commute on two wheels to the next level are those who travel distances of 30km, 40km and even 50km to 80km per day, sometimes involving inter-state travel as well! We bring to you some of Noida’s extreme cycling advocates, who remain unfazed by the deteriorating air quality, the city’s notorious lack of cycle tracks, peak-hour traffic and strange looks and comments from motorists. They pick up their bicycles and hit the road alone, driven by their passion for cycling, concern for the environment and desire to be fitter.
‘Going to the gym was not an option, so started cycling’
Greater Noida West resident Faisal Dilawar, 32, cycles 80km back and forth from home to his workplace in Gurgaon, three to four times a week. It takes him around two hours to reach his office, and he leaves around 7am. “Around two years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes and my doctor advised me to increase my physical activity. Going to the gym was not an option as my schedule is quite hectic. Since I enjoy cycling, it was a way for me to follow my passion while getting fitter,” says Faisal, a senior associate at Avizva Solutions, Gurgaon.

Vineet Goyal, cycles 12km daily from sector 49 to Noida, Phase-2

‘Cycling helps me increase endurance’
Dilip Dwivedi, a resident of Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, who works as an IT Specialist at HCL in Sector 126, cycles 42km daily. He says, “Cycling is the best way to reduce one’s carbon footprint. We are not activists but this is the least we can do to save the environment.” He adds, “Cycling 100km or 200km just on the weekends does not bring consistency. In fact, it makes you feel all the more tired. I do not like taking such long breaks between my rides. Cycling to work at least four times a week helps me maintain consistency and increase my endurance.”

Dilip Dwivedi, cycles 43km daily from Vasundhara, Ghaziabad to sector 126

‘Cycling is not just limited to a weekend sport for me’
Chandan Singh, the founder of Greater Noida Cycling Club (GNCC), pedals 50km every day from his residence in Greater Noida to his workplace in Special Economic Zone in Noida’s Phase-2. “I have been cycling to work for the past three years. Cycling is not just limited to a weekend sport for me but it is also a part of my daily life. In fact, I also encourage other people around me in my office, or near my home to take up cycling,” says Chandan, Vice President, Digital Marketing at ProProfs, a software firm in SEZ, Noida, Phase-2. Prateek Thakur, a resident of Sector 93-B, cycles to his workplace in Sector 126 every day. “I switched to cycling as it is cheaper, healthier and greener. Earlier, I used to take a cab to the office but realised that it takes the same amount of time for me to reach my workplace by cycle, so why not incorporate it in my daily commute,” says Prateek, a software engineer at Samsung, who cycles 8km, daily.

Chandan Singh, cycles 50km daily from Greater Noida to Special Economic Zone, Noida, Phase-2

Stares, thumbs-up and selfies: Mixed reactions from passersby
Vineet Goyal, MD at VPIPL, an equipment manufacturing firm in Noida, Phase-2, tells us, “While some motorists on the road whistle at me, others think we are fools to be cycling to work and try to make fun of us.” He travels a total of 12km daily from his residence in Sector 49 to his office. He adds, “When my colleagues see their boss riding a cycle to work while they come in cars, their comments get evident. But over the years, the older employees have started to understand and appreciate why I come to office by cycle.” Sudhulika Sanghi, a resident of Sector 27, who cycles a total of 20km every day from her home to her workplace in Sector 126, says that such reactions have not managed to deter her from cycling to work. “There are all kinds of people on the road, and so far, I have not been affected by it,” says Sudhulika, who works at HCL Technologies in Noida, adding, “While cycling on the road, people often yell ‘good job’ or ‘keep it up’. Many even give a thumbs-up and that boosts my confidence.” There are a few cyclists who feel like celebrities on the roads. “Many people have come up to me while I am cycling to work to get clicked. Seeing a person cycling with proper safety gear may be unusual for them which is why they want to click pictures,” adds Chandan.

Sudhulika Sanghi, cycles 20km daily from sector 27 to sector 126

‘Cycling on the Noida Expressway is risky’
Unlike members of cycling clubs who cycle during early morning hours when the traffic is less, these cyclists have to brave peak-hour traffic on the city roads. Chandan says, “Some motorists, especially those who drive cars, think of cyclists as a nuisance. They do not give us way and many even zoom past very close to us.” Dilip adds, “Once, a car was taking a turn and instead of waiting for me to cross the road, he bumped into me and I fell and got injured. This is just one of the many incidents on the road when car drivers don’t care for the cyclists on the road.”
Sudhulika says, “Cycling on the Noida Expressway becomes a threat when vehicles come from the wrong side with high speed. Since we cycle on one side of the road, there is nowhere to go in such a situation and we have to stop most of the time until the vehicle coming from the wrong side passes by.”
Apart from wearing safety gear, including a helmet, reflective jacket, gloves, knee caps and elbow caps, the cyclists also put their personal details on their cycle in case of a mishap. “I have my emergency number and blood group details pasted on my bicycle, in case of an accident. As a precaution, we try to be as visible as possible by wearing reflective jackets and putting reflectors on our bicycles,” says Manu Stanley, a resident of Sector 137, who cycles to work at AABSyS IT, an IT firm in Sector 132 and covers 6km, daily.

Manu Stanley cycles 6km daily from sector 137 to sector 132

Prateek Thakur, cycles 8km daily from sector 93-B to sector 126
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