3 Cycling experiments in Kolkata #CyKol
It is important to not to pursue cycling in any way so as to endanger the rider. The motivation behind the experiment is to show that it’s very viable and practical to travel by a cycle. That in turn could lead to a Rent-a-Cycle program being tailored for students near Park Circus area:
Scope for students to commute on rented cycles in Kolkata
It would be counterproductive to advocate them to zoom ahead recklessly on a cycle. The idea of cycling here emphasizes convenience and speed of movement where other means of transport are slow. In conducting the experiment, a reasonable speed was adhered to and traffic laws were obeyed.
Three experiments were undertaken to see whether it is indeed faster to cycle from A to B on a cycle, on a BMX to be precise.
What’s a BMX you ask? Here’s a BMX and a conventional cycle:
It takes a lot more effort to cycle on a BMX than on a normal sized cycle. That deters one from riding fast for long distances. Its wheels are a lot smaller so you have to pedal more to cover the same distance than you would on a normal sized bike. The size constraint alone proves that there’s been no reckless speeding in course of the experiment.
3 Experiments to show that using a cycle is as good as using any other means of transport in Kolkata. The distances covered being 10 km, 2 km and 4 km.
1. Starting from the starting point of Avon Cycles India Cyclothon- Kolkata 2012.
Salt Lake Stadium to Rabindra Sadan
Now, asking Google Maps for advice on traversing that distance, they suggested the following route:
According to their estimate, it’ll take 54 minutes to make the trip. Give or take 5 minutes for bus timings.
Here’s the route I took, via EM Bypass:
It took just 40 minutes to get from Salt Lake Stadium to Rabindra Sadan on a BMX. And that was with four stops along the way to click pictures. It wasn’t the cycle being superfast as much as it was the traffic being super slow being checkered with red lights all along the way.
It took 40 minutes From 9:36 AM to 10:16 AM. And a BMX doesn’t even go fast as it has 20 inch wheels.
2. Park Circus, 4# Bridge to Rabindra Sadan
A sub section of the first route. This is the stretch where traffic really comes to a standstill. It took 11 minutes to get from Charr number bridge to Rabindra Sadan.
This was while taking the main AJC Bose road. Coming through a by-lane would have been even quicker.
3. Rabindra Sadan to Central Metro
Distance- 4 km
The third route was a race between a turtle and a hare. Between a metro and a cycle.
The start point was the entry into the Rabindra Sadan metro station. End point being Central Metro Station. The race was against a couple of volunteers and clock was started when they entered the station.
It took 15 minutes to travel by cycle. The road towards Central has the traffic coming towards Sadan so I had to cycle super slow at points. In spite of that, the tortoise beat the hare by a minute. It wasn’t a case of me being fast as much as it was the metro being slow and stopping at stations. Add to that the time taken to enter and exit the station. Entry and exit from the Metro in addition to the journey via metro took 16 minutes. There are 5 metro stations in that stretch.
Again, the idea here is not to be superfast. Being faster than one minute isn’t all that rad. But being faster by a minute against a metro on the most eco friendly and energy efficient means of transport in terms of energy expended by a person to travel a distance, that’s something.
This begets the question, why not cycle everywhere? I would if there wasn’t the hassle of parking. Yes, there can be a different kind of hassle for parking a cycle. Concern against theft being the foremost. And sometimes you may not want to cycle 10 km when time is short. But you may want a cycle for the last mile where traffic is slow.
And that’s where a Rent-a-cycle program comes in. That would eliminate the need for parking, all you would have to do is deposit it at a stand where the cycles for rent are stocked and managed.
There’s a celebration of two wheels in a few days in Kolkata. The Avon India Cyclothon- Kolkata 2012 will be held on 18 March.
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