La balade à vélo le soir – The Evening Bicycle Ride. At Sanjeevaiah Park, Hyderabad.
HBC (Hyderabad Bicycling Club) worked with HMDA (Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority) and GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) to bring to Hyderabad yet another milestone.
In the centre of Hyderabad’s map, is the Hussain Sagar Lake. One of the two parks hugging the lake is Sanjeevaiah Park, on Necklace Road. S’ Park is one of the better parks in town. In 2010, it won the Best Open Landscape Award at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage award presentations.
The Yacht Club of Hyderabad, Hussain Sagar, is Sanjeevaiah Park’s pride
The park opened to public in 2004 and on May 26, 2012, for the first time ever in its history-
- Sanjeevaiah Park was open in the night
- The general public got to see the lake from this vantage point post 6pm
- Bicycles were allowed inside the Park
Two months ago, this HBC-GHMC-HMDA team pulled off an initiative whose feasibility even many of its decision-makers were skeptical about. On March 18th, the club announced that every day, for two hours in the morning, 3.5km of an arterial road, bang in the middle of town, would be blocked exclusively for cyclists, who would be able to rent good quality, well-maintained, geared bicycles for a nominal price of Rs. 20 for the two hour duration. This facility could be availed of by any and every citizen of Hyderabad, they said. Far from just subsisting, the bike station at Necklace Road became a mega success. Filled to capacity on all days, the club was forced to increase capacity from a 100 bicycle to 150 bicycles – catering to tall and short men, women, children and tandem enthusiasts.
A section of the 150 bicycles at HBC’s bike station in Hyderabad
And helmets to go
May 28th onward, citizens (unfortunately, this ride does not permit kids and women at this point as per the safety stipulation prescribed by HMDA) may rent a bicycle from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM from the bike station and ride in Sanjeevaiah Park on all days of the week. This ride route provides the best view in town and is completely traffic-free.
Inside the park
To mark this momentous development, HBC put together a formal event where bicycles were given out for a couple of hours free of cost, for people to ride on a 2km trail/tarmac route along the outer rim of the park. The event was well attended by enthusiasts and board members of HBC. Like I said before, the main attraction was the view. I do not know how many people present that day realized that they were among the first people to have had access to a view (Park After-hours + Lake View + Bike Ride) never seen before.
Riders, at the launch event for the evening rides. Much to the annoyance of couples lingering on in the park post 6pm!
An image from the ride
An image from the ride
Food, beverages for the press and participants
The dignitaries that flagged off the event, in the presence of a number of other dignitaries, were – Mr. Neerabh Prasad, IAS, Commissioner HMDA and Mr. NVS Reddy, IRAS, MD Hyderabad Metro Rail. Neerabh Prasad was all praise for the initiative and humbly admitted that he wasn’t bitten by the cycling bug as yet. He urged people to have fun and ride safe. In a lighter vein, he nearly apologized on behalf of Hussain Sagar Lake for the sewage stench in some areas. On a serious note, he urged riders to extend their help in cleaning up and that it was about time.
(L-R) Neerabh Prasad, D V Manohar, NVS Reddy and MJ Akbar (extreme right) on stage, addressing the press, riders and bemused picnickers
Why was MD, Hyderabad Metro Rail at the event?
This is not a riddle. Wait, and watch this space, for HBC’s surprise!