Once, Karachi was a different place. Its residents – men, women and children – enjoy more freedom on the road, dress as they wish without fear of being called, and walking and cycling are not unusual.
However, over the years, all of that is fading, with increasing security problems gripping the port city and cars and motorbikes replacing good old bicycles. Thus, cycling became a rare sight on city streets, only regaining its lost position after a few sports fans practiced again a few years ago.
But it needs lockdowns to reintroduce broader trends in metropolitan cities and now, it’s in full swing in some areas.
Drive along the beach
One of the newly discovered biking centers is Sea View Beach, where many cyclists gather to paddle along the windy coast path without disturbances and without fear.
With lockdowns, the city government has blocked all routes to the coast and police deployed in the area allow several visitors. However, cycling fans don’t seem to be banned.
Among them was Masroor Khan, who, along with his friends, cycled along the beach for at least two hours every night.
“There is no fear of grabbing or unnecessary comments by strangers in the middle of the lockdown,” he said. “We were able to ride freely because there were no rushed cars or crowds of visitors crowded on the beach.”
According to 16-year-old Sunaif, without the right biking trails anywhere in the city, the beach is an ideal location for fans.
He and his friends, Ayan and Muhammad Zaryan, cycled there for at least 30 kilometers every day, and much to his delight, “the number of cyclists visiting the coast is increasing day by day.”
Likewise, for Lutaf Ali Mangrio, who bought a new cycle last month, cycling turned out to be a relaxing activity. “This is very exciting and I want to continue it even after the lock has been lifted.”
Police officer Abdul Karim Tanoli, who was stationed on the beach, estimates that around 800 people appear regularly to cycle along the coast from 6 pm to 11 pm.
“But the numbers are increasing,” he said, adding that residents preferred to cycle there because they felt safer in the presence of the police.
However, how long this sense of security will last, is a question that remains unanswered.
“I’m afraid there won’t be a safe space like we have now [after the lockdown ends], “Reckoned Mangrio.
And cracks have been seen in the facade. Although there are obstacles at all entry points to the beach, some still manage to drive their luxury vehicles there, many are disappointed.
“Parents want their children to learn to ride a bicycle. They want a safe space for them and such VIP exceptions make them uncomfortable, “Nazia Hasan worried, there with her family.
Making love on the beach
Meanwhile, dozens of people, along with their family and friends, cross obstacles to reach the beach, some listen to music and others walk with their pets. But their activities are not limited to biking and walking.
“This is a new place to hang out,” explained Sunaif.
Outlining further, Khan points out, “Gyms, schools, clubs and parks are all closed. Our only recreation is cycling and meeting our friends here. “
Another visitor, Shahbaz, said that he and his friends often hung out at the beach for the past few weeks. “This is a good way to spend quality time,” he commented.
Likewise, Hasan had told his neighbors to join him and take advantage of the beach while the lock remained in place.
“For the first time in my life, I enjoyed walking along the beach with my family, even though it was only a few steps from my home,” he said. Observing all activities, Ali Hassan said that kuncitara has resulted in Clifton residents being connected to the coast again.
“These same people usually prefer other beaches because of safety and cleanliness. I have never seen then walked on these streets before. “
Originally published in Pulpit
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