Cycling in Kathmandu may seem strange, but it is not strange for die hard freaks. In fact cycling in Kathmandu is picking up among the more affluent youth of society. The reason is that they are more conscious about their health rather the lower level of society.
As they want to get out of the obscurity of poverty which has bound them in, riding a bicycle is associated with it. In their minds, it happens to be a poor man’s vehicle. So when they have the privilege of getting something better like a motorbike or better still some four wheeled vehicle, they love to show their dominance over the bicyclist.
Another thing which deter, a die hard cyclist from wanting to use the roads for his health, is the roads themselves. In the craze to expand the roads, the roads that were there have gone from bad to the worst and with the supercilious behaviour of the poor turned rich vehicle driver who believes that you are not meant to be there, he will make it his business to honk you off the road with fright and spray a plume of dust in fumes into your face.
Cycling in Kathmandu, is like cycling to you death bed. If you are not forced off the road to either go into one of the thousand pot hole to break your cycle or one of your bones, the fog of dust will do the rest of the damage to your lungs. Neither ones who have come from obscurity or the government thinks that they are ought to be there.
It is quite paradoxical, that the government who makes it a hue and cry that cigarettes should be banned as it is a health hazard to the non-smoker. What can be more detrimental than the thick smoke and the dust kick up which has already been mixed with the germs from the every overflowing sewage?
Moreover, the government has time and time again, has stating that it would make the city more eco-friendly. Yes, it has been importing more and more motorcycles and other four wheeled vehicles. Why might you ask? It get nearly 200% taxes on the import. Why care for the health of the people when I as the government of Nepal can make money!
Import more cycles, it makes both the citizens healthy and does not need the import of fuel. It is your duty as the government of Nepal to look after the health of your citizens. There are other means of making money.
If there roads are proper and those who believe they are no longer poor by riding a motorcycle or car or in that case do not want to show their shame by travelling like a pack of sardines in those scrupulous microbuses, then cycling in Kathmandu happens to be one of the best modes of transportation.
Move over, you get free exercise and do not have to spend a penny running to a gym to loose those extra pounds. It also helps to make the heart healthy. In fact, I have never heard of a cyclist dying of heart disease, but I have heard of a motorcyclist and those that drive other forms of motorized vehicles.
In fact your can peddle out into the surrounding hills around Kathmandu to get exercise in fresh air. So all hope is not lost for cycling in Kathmandu. You just have to have the determination to make yourself health and get rid of the pride that is instilled in your heart.
I cycle to work and I cycle for health to the hills around Kathmandu and I enjoy life better the arrogant pride that is there in the hearts of many of those motorcyclist and car owners.
Steven William Pitts