In our fast-paced lives, Amdavadis seem to be taking things a little slow. And it’s no longer about trying to reach the destination at the earliest. No, we aren’t talking about the daily commute to office, but about enjoying the experience of travelling. Cycle tourism is fast gaining momentum among Amdavadis. Be it a weekend trip to nearby destinations (like Kutch, Lothal, Mount Abu, Ranakpur, Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh), planning one-day cycling trips during their travel to popular tourist destinations like Goa, Shimla-Manali, Leh-Ladakh and even international destinations like Bali, Pattaya and Phuket, Amdavadis seem to be in love with this slow-mo mode of travel. For actor Yash Soni, “Cycling is all about leisure and fitness. Cycling allows me to enjoy life at my own pace.” After all, the slow-paced leisure travel allows you to have enough of the mesmerising landscape, stop and interact with the locals and soak in the majestic feeling. Also, the fact that it is an environment-friendly mode of transport only adds to the appeal. And if you thought the scorching summer will be a deterrent for these travellers, you are wrong! Be it solo travel or group trips, several city clubs and passionate cycling enthusiasts are taking the lead in organising cycling trips to create a bagful of memories and an experience that will last a lifetime.
Avoiding the rush and making new friends
The real pleasure of experiencing nature lies in taking it slow, where the journey becomes just as important as reaching the destination. “Even when we go for a vacation, there is always a sense of doing things in a rush. From reaching your destination to visiting local tourist hotspots, the urgency to finish things never leaves us,” says Vinod Purohit, co-founder of a city based cycling club that organises various trips to destinations within and outside Gujarat. He adds, “When you hit the road on a bicycle, it gives you a sense of calm because there is no rush. You go at your own pace. It gives you a chance to spend time with yourself, feel close to nature, enjoy a slow ride and connect with fellow riders.” So what if you are able to cover only small distances and visit only one destination? Many feel that travelling at a slow pace and watching the rest of the world rush past is a thrill that can only be experienced on a cycle. Says Harsh Bajaj, who organises short cycling trips around Ahmedabad, “People want to gain new experiences, and cycling to a destination or going for one-day cycling trips during a vacation gives them exactly that. Cycling the entire day to nearby places can be relaxing.
While exploring tourist spots, it’s the rush that actually tires us, and not the actual travel.” For some, it is also about remembering the good old days. For Anand Marar, a marketing consultant, cycling is his way of keeping fit and going for short trips is a way of beating the stress and connecting with like-minded people. He says, “I started cycling because I wanted to start exercising. And soon, it became an integral part of my lifestyle. Now, I can’t think of my life without it. And when I got to know about cycle tourism, it enticed me even more. For me, cycling means reliving my childhood days, when riding my cycle gave me a sense of freedom. Besides, it also gives me a chance to connect with like-minded people. I have made some really good friends during these trips and I don’t think you can do it through any other mode of travel.”
Mixing fun, fitness and leisure
In the past few years, Amdavadis have become more fitness conscious.While following the same fitness regimen daily can get tiring and boring, adding a fun element to it helps in reinventing the fitness goals. And cycling provides just that. “I used to go solo cycling daily as a fitness routine, but it got boring and I started skipping it. So, I joined a cycling club in the city that organises interesting short trips around Ahmedabad,” says Sharin Patel, a marketing professional. He adds, “We go to nearby places for day-long trips, sometimes we also go for off-roading or longer trips for 2-3 days. This has not only revived my interest in cycling, but I am also exploring a completely new way of travelling. There are people of all age groups in our club, and it is an inspiration to see seniors cycling with equal enthusiasm.” Adding fun to fitness is something that has encouraged a lot of Amdavadis to take up cycle tourism in the recent past. Says Roopal Mehta, “Keeping fit is one thing and going for interesting trips is another. But what if you get to do both together? I have been to many such trips and you get to connect with some lovely people.” So, be it keeping fit, meeting new people or simply exploring a different way of travelling, cycling is the way to go for Amdavadis.