Lahoris are known for their lively nature. That is manifest in parks, gardens, shopping malls, and especially those places where you can find something to eat. This time, I shall be talking about the ‘zinda dilaans’ who have found a way to entertain themselves in a healthy way.
A number of people have formed different cycling groups in different areas of the city. These groups comprise people belonging from different ages who share the passion for cycling. These cyclists ride their bicycles through different areas of Lahore.
On weekends these aspiring cyclists can be found on the streets early in the morning. One of the admirable things about these groups is that a number of women have also joined them. A number of female cyclists that are a part of this distinguished group have gone as far as up to the Khunjerab Pass. The idea is to promote the culture of bicycling in Pakistan.
In recent times, the world has acknowledged the benefits of cycling; it’s been declared a healthy, low-impact cardio exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
According to Dr Farooq, a physician who is also a member of a cycling group, the benefits of cycling on a regular basis include increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility, decreased stress levels, improved posture and coordination, strengthened bones, decreased body fat levels, prevention/management of different ailments, and reduced anxiety and depression.
In the last few years, the culture of cycling has been reintroduced in Lahore, thanks to the Critical Mass which was initiated by Ahmad Rafay Alam. Sadly, though, the initiative didn’t last long, a lot of young and educated boys and girls in the city seem to have taken it upon themselves to promote the activity as well as to present the positive image of Pakistan abroad.
I recently met a cyclist, named Abdur Rehman Palwa, who has plans to tour Pakistan on his bicycle. He said he’d be visiting all the provinces of the country. For this purpose, he is also in contact with the Guinness World Record officials.
“I want to promote the culture of cycling in the country and want to create a first for Guinness,” Palwa said.
He had high hopes for the bright future of cycling in the country and advised those starting in the field to take precautionary measures while toeing his line.
The lack of sports avenues is an eternal problem. At present, there is only one cycling circuit in Lahore which is situated next to the Hockey Stadium. That too is ill-managed, and calls for an urgent attention of the government.
Different cyclists claim they have repeatedly tried to draw the attention of the authorities towards the nearly wrecked facility but nothing in this regard has been done yet.
We hear about a new cycling circuit which is under construction somewhere in DHA. Let’s hope it sees the light of the day soon enough, before the culture of cycling dies out all over again.