Almost all of us have grown up loving every moment of riding a bicycle. As we grew older and found other interests, we forgot the simple joys that an activity such as this can bring. On the other hand, there are devoted cyclists passionate about riding on a daily basis. Both categories of people will find that Delhi has a little to offer cycling enthusiasts as well as occasional riders. Although it may not be a cycle-friendly city, New Delhi does have certain parks and roads which have stretches that are conducive to riding a bicycle. While some are for beginners, some of them are tough and will require certain precautions. First-timers would be advised to join one of the many cycling groups across the city. Some of these are PedalYatri, Gurgaon Fun Riders, Noida Cycling Club, and Delhi Cyclists.
IF you don’t possess a cycle, fret not. Cycles can be hired at any of these four metro stations; Hauz Khas, Saket, Vishwavidyalaya, and Akshardham. However, since the cycles available at the metro stations are of a fairly basic nature, they are not suitable for offroading. Here is a roundup of all areas where one can embark on a cycling trip in the city.-
Najafgarh Wetlands: Situated on the outer periphery of Delhi, the trail is picturesque and has little traffic. The greenery along the way is an added bonus. The route connects Dwarka to Haryana and goes along the Najafgarh drain. The ideal season to cycle here is winter, as you can spot thousands of birds in the wetlands.
Dhaula Kuan to 11 Murti (Sardar Patel Marg): This stretch is ideal due to its downhill nature which makes accelerating a fairly easy task. The accompanying winds from the ridge forest act as the perfect companion.
Aravali Trails: This one is recommended for intermediate level cyclists and has a healthy mix of uphill as well as downhill patches. Due to the off-roading nature of the trails, one would be advised to go on this trip with a sturdy mountain bike, and prior experience to light off-roading. The forest area is ideal for cycling and provides respite from cars and pedestrians.
Sanjay Van: Located between Jawaharlal Nehru University and Qutab Minar, this is a smooth, comfortable stretch. The forest is lined with trees which will give cyclists cover from direct sunlight. Various animals can be spotted here. This spot is recommended for those looking for a relatively easy cycling experience. Ruins of an ancient fort also lie here and are worth a stop.
Lutyens’ Delhi: Home to some of the most high profile residents of the city, one can have a clean and safe cycling experience in Lutyens’ Delhi. It is also one of the rare roads in Delhi to have service roads which provide adequate space to cyclists for a convenient outing. The traffic here is also manageable and not as extreme as many other roads in the city.
Mangar Banj: This one is a serious trail for off-roading, and is located in a large forest somewhere between Faridabad and Gurgaon. It can be accessed by the Gurgaon-Faridabad road. Again, it would be recommended to cycle here in a group and on a trustworthy bicycle meant for off-roading purposes. A puncture kit would be helpful here.
Rashtrapati Bhawan-India Gate: This stretch is enjoyable and fairly easy as well. With India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan on either side, one will be find various other cyclists here, especially during the mornings. This one is ideal for someone who is just getting a feel of cycling in the city initially, and hoping to graduate to more challenging terrains.