IAS cycles his way to work and fitness

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IAS cycles his way to work and fitness

We lead unhealthy lives with the excuse being “I am very busy and I just don’t have the time to exercise.” Then there are those who choose to lead a healthy lifestyle. Stepping out in the searing sun may seem daunting enough for most, but not for IAS officer Praveen Chaudhary. Leaving behind his chauffeurdriven official car, Chaudhary cycles to work at least twice a week. This he says keeps him fit in his otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Chaudhary, a 2014 batch IAS officer was recently transferred to Junagadh as district development officer (DDO).

Like his earlier posting as deputy collector in Chhota Udepur where he cycled to work, he has continued his fitness regimen with the same passion. He cycles to work every Monday and Thursday when he is does not have fieldwork. On other days he uses the official car. According to Chaudhary, “I took up cycling in March this year. When I was posted in Chhota Udepur I came to know that one of my batch mates, an IPS officer, cycled about 40km every morning to keep himself fit. This was a trigger for me and I started cycling to work.”

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Currently posted as DDO in Junagadh, the distance from his office to home is about 4km. “I cycle to work on Mondays and Thursdays. It contributes to my fitness as otherwise life is sedentary and there is not much time for workout. But yoga is something I religiously practice every morning. In my free time, which is mostly in the evenings, I explore Junagadh city on my cycle.”

He recalls a recent experience in Junagadh. “During a hot summer day recently when I was cycling to work, I had a flat tyre and stopped to get it fixed. I was surprised to find that the shopkeeper knew me and summoned other staffers to meet me. They seemed amused.”

Our city is not cycle-friendly, according to cyclists who have requested Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to build cycle tracks but to no avail

Sceptical about emulation

Chaudhary is sceptical if people will emulate him. “Several times in my office and outside people have evinced interest in cycling and inquired why I cycle. They are all positive but I am not sure anyone would take up cycling for fitness or for environmental concern by just seeing me cycle to work.” The DDO who enjoyed cycling during his school days finds today’s young generation going to school on motorbikes and scooters unhealthy. “In our school we hardly saw anyone coming on bikes or scooters. I wish schoolchildren continue to cycle as it adds to their fitness.”

Cyclists on Chaudhary’s dedication

Vinod Purohit, businessman and founder of a cycling club in the city, said, “It is good to know that such a senior government official is interested in cycling. This helps a lay person communicate better with them on the problems cyclists face. Our cities are not cycle-friendly. In the past we have requested the civic body to build cycle tracks but to no avail. Officials like this will understand a cyclist’s problems better.”

Thaltej resident Bhavik Patel who enjoys cycling believes that work places should be modified to provide secure parking spaces, shower and changing facilities to encourage people to cycle to work. “Officials like Chaudhary will surely bring change in society and inspire others. If the distance from home to work is short, it is definitely good to cycle,” he said.

Psychologist Udit Thakre whose daily commute is on a cycle said, “It pleases me to know that someone at his position cycles to work. Because such officials influence more people in society than a common man. A day will come, when cycling won’t remain a topic of discussion and becomes part of everybody’s life. If more people cycle or use public transport, it will bring pressure on government to build better infrastructure as well.”

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