Cycle city (in Kathmandu, Nepal)

There is an amazingly simple solution to curbing air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley (and your weight). Ditch your motorbike and get on a bicycle. And if you think the precarious road conditions of Kathmandu won't let you, there is some good news in the offing. An enthusiastic group of youths have devoted themselves to turning the capital into a cycle-friendly city by 2020.

An ambitious goal, but the small yet swiftly increasing breed of cyclists in the city can at least look forward to breathing easier. Started a year ago by students of Kathmandu University, Rajan Kathet and Shail Shrestha, the Kathmandu Cycle City 2020 campaign is moving ahead with full force. It already has 700 active members, who use cycles as a regular means of transport.

Their plans involve building cycle lanes, promoting cycling to commute short distances, and encouraging youth participation in cycling sports. In the last year alone, they have organised cycle rallies and conducted cycle workshops to raise the profile of cycling. The campaign has also been lobbying government bodies to build cycle lanes on newly constructed roads and accommodate cycle lanes within existing road networks.

If the authorities reciprocate the campaigners' zeal, the usual spectacle of Kathmandu's infamous road traffic, which makes everyday cycling more akin to adventure sports, will hopefully take a turn for the better. Ride safe!

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