Bike sharing is no longer just material idealistic hipster talk. Cities across the world have seen people leave their car keys home and head over to the nearest cycle station, pedaling away to their destinations. Paris and Copenhagen boast integrated cycling networks that include thousands of stations and state-of-the-art technology. That bike-sharing boom can also be seen in Indian cities, (in)famous for their traffic gridlocks. There are many reasons why informed commuters are finding their transport solution in a cycle rental rather than cars and buses – it is all about the multi-pronged benefits.

Negotiate the Traffic with Ease

Cycles have always been an efficient mode of transport. A staple of the rural and semi-urban countryside, the humble ‘seat and two wheels’ is slowly becoming the answer to the packed urban schedule. A cycle can be squeezed through stationary traffic without anyone objecting and cyclists can from point A to point B via typical Indian skinny alleys that even scooters and motorbikes would struggle to maneuver in. Changed minds about the route? With a cycle, it is as easy as lifting it up and doing an about turn.

The time saved on commuting is precious. An extra half-hour, either way you can be some rejuvenating sofa-TV time or even a bit of reading or catching up with the kids.

A Health Upgrade

A lot of city-dwellers have undergone the routine of joining a gym only to have the enthusiasm fade away in a couple of weeks. Exercise is not just about motivation. It is also about tricking the brain into a pleasure-giving habit that works the muscles. With a cycling habit, even the most lethargic will find a new lease of life. Here are just some of the many ways cycling can rejuvenate a person.

Consistent cycling is a great way to lose belly fat but the weight loss benefit does not stop there. It is a perfect exercise for those who want to tone their body while maintaining agility. And all this can be done while going for an errand. Cardiovascular fitness, or the lack of, is a serious issue in India. Heart disease is rampant as people eat more and spend more time sitting. Cycling strengthens the body’s most important set of muscles – the heart. With a stronger heart, people will enjoy better stamina for other tasks. The weight management and cardio benefits of cycling help reduce the chances of hypertension and even diabetes.

Core body strengthening can be achieved by a good bout of cycling now and then. The cycling posture is low impact and also improves back strength. It is recommended over jogging on the treadmill as it is easier on the weight-bearing lower body muscles and leg joints. Cycling is also good for joint mobility and flexibility. It increases muscle strength of the legs and constant cycling also improves muscle coordination and reflexes.

From a mental point-of-view, cycling is a trusted stress buster. The adrenaline rush is a positive body reaction that can lift a person’s mood. Exercise also gives participants a sense of achievement and gives them a confidence boost that can translate in many ways, including at the workplace.

The best part about cycling is that it is easy. Once a rider gets the hang of it, the natural body movements integrate seamlessly with the bike – unlike other complex exercises and sports that require a fair bit of practice. Cycling is fun, so it takes the mind off the exercise allowing people to be active for more hours than they would usually achieve in a gym or running track.

A Great Way to Explore

For travellers looking to feel the pulse of a new city, there is no better way than to dive into the crowded melees and buzzing markets on a cycle. From Chandni Chowk in the evenings to a sunrise trip around Mumbai’s heritage streets, a cycling route can be punctuated with stops for chai and snacks – without the nightmare of driving in circles looking for parking. With mostly plain landscape, India’s cities have easily doable and fascinating cycling routes – old towns and scenic countryside included.

A Responsible Way to Travel

Doomsday scenarios are not as unrealistic as one may have initially thought with climate change causing havoc. At a local level, temperatures have risen and pollution has increased just from the exhaust of buildings and vehicles. A cycle on the other hand, is the cleanest mode of transport. The only thing burning is calories. This progressive attitude towards commute is a great way to make friends too. Many cycling clubs, formal and informal, have formed in India’s cities, driven by a common goal of sustainability and a healthy lifestyle.

Cycling Rentals – Making Things Easy

For those who are not ready to make an investment in a cycle, rentals are the best way to enjoy the ride without having the liability. There are no time limits for how long one can rent a cycle for – with pre-booking, commuters can hold on to the cycle from as little as an hour to an entire month. Cycling rentals also get rid of storage issues – which can be a problem for cycle owners who live in apartment blocks or small urban spaces.

A lot of trips within the city are short enough for a cycle ride. With companies like Pedl, booking a cycle online is as easy as it gets. Customers just need to find the nearest Pedl station and unlock a cycle with a popular wallet app. The rates for Pedl shared cycles are cheap – at INR 3 for half an hour no other transport option can beat that. When the ride is over, cyclists can drop the ride back at the nearest Pedl station, which are dispersed across the city.

From gaining mobility and flexibility in even the worst of traffic jams to increasing cardiovascular health, cycling is an activity that is life changing in multiple ways. Step out and rent a bike – feel the wind and freedom of this timeless piece of transport.

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