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Ride on Friday

  • Published at 12:13 pm July 6th, 2018
Get moving on a bicycle Mahmud Hossain Opu

Ride a bike, stay healthy and happy

The regular weekly, monthly, and yearly rides, the yearly trips, the social and charity activities, and of course the Guinness World Records of the longest single line of moving cyclists that was made on December 16, 2016 has helped BDCyclists earn the popularity, love, and respect of not only people in the country but also in the international arena.

Many cyclists living in districts far away from Dhaka have come to the capital just to join the rides of BDCyclists.

The reason being love for BDCyclists, and a passion for cycling. Hearing about the cycling activities of BDCyclists till date, several foreign cyclists during their cycling world tour have also joined the rides of BDCyclists.

Commuting by cycling was unthinkable and probably crazy to many people in Dhaka, even a few years ago. It was a social belief that commuting by cycling would shatter one’s social status.

Hence, even a few years ago, commuting by cycling was a practice followed by the urban poor and people in rural areas.

In 2012, a group of bicycle enthusiasts formed BDCyclists with an aim to promote cycling, especially commuting by cycling, and a healthy lifestyle.

The group, which now has over 100,000 members, has been successful, as commuting by cycling has become the norm for many people across different walks of life in Dhaka and other major cities.

Leisurely and recreational bicycle rides have also become a hobby for many people in the country.

Realizing the importance of cycling, bicycle lanes have been provided in the Uttara area by the city authority, and there are plans to provide several more bicycle lanes in parks and other major roads in Dhaka.

Among the rides and activities organized by BDCyclists, the most popular and participated ride is the Bike Friday ride. 

This weekly ride, organized on Friday mornings, has been in place ever since the group was formed. In fact, since the initiation of the group in 2012, this ride has been organized almost every Friday. 

This ride has been participated by different ages of people from all walks of life. People have joined this ride with their friends, spouses, kids, and even their parents. The ride even had members of a family from three generations.

In this ride -- which starts around 6am from Manik Mia Avenue and goes on for a few hours -- riders usually ride in Dhaka and in the outskirts of Dhaka to enjoy the peaceful and pleasant natural beauty of the countryside while most people are still fast asleep. 

The ride usually stops in a village market so that riders can enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast in a village environment. On their way back home, many riders usually do their vegetable shopping from the village markets. In some of the rides, riders also have the opportunity to ride on a boat.

These are tiny glimpses of the wonderful experiences that riders have been sharing about their Bike Friday rides.

In fact, many if not most people in Dhaka, even after living their entire lives in Dhaka, never had the opportunity to have these experiences. These are life-time experiences which people often do not gain even through an overnight tour. 

This is what has made the Bike Friday ride so special, unique, and popular. The positive experiences gained through this ride have encouraged many to take up cycling for commuting and also as a hobby.

According to the schedule, the 300th Bike Friday ride will be held on July 27 this year. One of the main founders and volunteers of the group, Fuad Ahasan Chowdhury has declared: “To celebrate this milestone ride, apart from the regular ride, there will be fun games and activities and get-togethers.” 

As always, this ride will be free and open to all. The only condition is that, cyclists will just have to join the ride from Mania Mia Avenue at 6:30am wearing a bicycle helmet.

As BDCyclists souvenirs are invaluable to its members and they wait for these souvenirs throughout the year, the group has also decided to make a BDCyclists t-shirt to celebrate this ride. 

To be able to register to buy this t-shirt, cyclists will have to participate in any of the 296th, 297th, or 298th Bike Friday. The 296th Bike Friday ride has already been held.

The 297th Bike Friday will be held today, and the next one on the following Friday.

May there be more rides such as Bike Friday, as it will help us to gain more memorable experiences, discover the hidden natural beauty in our vicinity, and help us to stay healthy and happy. 

Ridwan Quaium is a transport engineer working in Thailand.

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