On September 16 this year, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inaugurated a dedicated cycle track inside the Garden of Five Senses, a 20-acre government-owned park in New Delhi that is visited by more than half-a-million people every year. “Bikes are allowed from 7.00 in the morning,” says Mr Vinod Kakkar, the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation official, who is in-charge of the garden. “The cycle track is a contribution of the garden to the health of the public while keeping the environment intact,” he adds.
Cyclists are not charged any extra fee for entering the garden, which lies in the historical Said-ul-Ajaib village in Saket close to the Mehrauli heritage area. The garden authorities are also planning to keep some bikes for those who arrive without them. “I don’t think there is any park in the country that allows cyclists inside,” says Mr Kakkar while emphasizing that “we need cycle tracks on the streets for people to use cycles freely without depending on motor vehicles”.
Scores of cyclists have arrived in the garden since it opened the dedicated cycle track a month ago. The garden authorities say most of the cyclists arrive on weekends though there are a few who visit during the weekdays. The bicycle path, which starts as a paved section near the garden’s entrance, soon turns into natural red sand lined on both sides by huge rocks. There is also a brick-laden section on the 1-km dedicated cycle track in the garden that boasts of 200 varieties of plants, including bamboo and cacti.
The garden hopes that the visitors who enjoy the bicycle ride on its dedicated track will spread the word to individual bikers as well as biking clubs so that more and more cyclists arrive, thereby increasing awareness about the non-polluting mode of transport.