Thane gears up for coun­try’s long­est am­a­teur cycle race

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Ateeq Shaikh ateeq. shaikh@ dnain­dia. net

In­dia’s long­est am­a­teur cycling team rac­ing event — Velo­raid — is back. This year, it will end on the top of Yeoor Hills on Septem­ber 18. The 180km- long race will be flagged off at Up­wan in Thane and will criss­cross At­gaon- Tansa- Vaitarna- Khardi only to end at Yeoor Hills.

“In all, 30 teams from all over In­dia are tak­ing part this year,” said Jose Ge­orge, co- or­gan­iser of the race. “We had got 45 teams for par­tic­i­pa­tion with­out send­ing across any in­vi­ta­tion. Out of th­ese, 30 teams were ac­cepted.” Last year, 25 teams had reg­is­tered them­selves.

The aim is to pop­u­larise cycling, so that peo­ple switch over to it and, if pos­si­ble, also pedal to work.

As per the struc­ture of the game, each team will have six mem­bers who will have to cover the en­tire stretch from Thane- At­gaonTansa- Vaitarna- KardiYeoor Hills. The rea­son for keep­ing this the route is be­cause of the vary­ing gra­di­ents an am­a­teur cy­clist will have to cover. Spe­cial per­mis­sions have been taken from the ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies and se­cu­rity agen­cies to al­low par­tic­i­pants, volunteers and or­gan­is­ers to cycle through some of th­ese re­stricted ar­eas along the route.

On May 28, an all- night cycling race was or­gan­ised in Mumbai, the first- ever such event that the city had wit­nessed. Al­though it is la­belled as an am­a­teur race, each team has a mix of pro­fes­sional and be­gin­ners. This com­bi­na­tion helps the pro­fes­sion­als to train and mo­ti­vate the fresh­ers. In Mumbai, there are groups work­ing to pro­mote the cycle- to- work con­cept, it is grad­u­ally gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity. Also, the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion has ded­i­cated a space out­side Jo­gesh­wari ( East) sta­tion to park bi­cy­cles, prob­a­bly the first such move by the civic body in at least the last cou­ple of decades.

The 180km- long race will be flagged off at Up­wan in Thane and will end at Yeoor Hills ( in pic)

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