Cycling to office 18km away

Sudipta Nag cycles all the way to and from his office in Jodhpur Park every day

By Sudeshna Banerjee in Calcutta
  • Published 4.01.19, 5:56 PM
  • Updated 4.01.19, 5:56 PM
  • a min read
  •  
Sudipta Nag rides his mountain bike in AG Block. Debasmita Bhattacharjee

He is a familiar sight on weekday mornings, cycling down Baisakhi More, across Karunamoyee crossing and towards the Bypass, helmet on head and gloved hands gripping the handle bars of a mountain bike. But what onlookers in Salt Lake are unlikely to be aware of is that Sudipta Nag cycles all the way to and from his office in Jodhpur Park every day.

“On GPS apps, the distance comes to about 18km,” says the AG Block resident.

Nag bought the bike last September to go riding to the mountains. “Mountain bikes have thicker wheels and can handle rough terrains. It was to get trained for the trip that I started cycling to office,” he says. He has since gone on two trips to the hills — one from Sandakphu via Phalut to Sikkim in October 2017 and another this August from Siliguri to Darjeeling — but it is no longer the objective for his daily rides which he has come to enjoy immensely. “My blood pressure and cholesterol levels are lower now,” says the 45-year-old.

He would take the Bypass from Chingrihata and then use the Kasba bylanes to cut across the Kankulia railgate. At night, while pedaling on the Bypass on the way back, he would switch on blinking lights.

Though cycling is not allowed on most Calcutta streets, the police have never harassed him. Initially he felt muscle pain but now he does not miss out on his ride even in monsoon. “I carry a change of clothes to office. Only in peak summer, I cycle twice or thrice a week.” And on holidays, like New Year’s Day, he can be found cycling in New Town.

His earlier journey to office involved an auto ride to Karunamoyee, followed by a bus trip to Ruby Hospital crossing and another auto ride to

Jadavpur police station. That took an hour and 15 minutes. A cycle ride takes half an hour more.

A graphic designer in an advertising agency, Sudipta gets embarrassed at his daily routine getting attention. “Cycling to work is a common practice in places like Bangalore or Noida or even in our villages. It is only in Calcutta that this is no longer in vogue,” he points out.