India’s first 23 km long Solar Roof Cycle Track is built in Hyderabad, ready to be launched on 1st October 2023, and boasts of several amenities for safety of cyclists while promoting eco-friendly development.
All my loyal readers would remember that last year, I spent my birthday with a bicycle photoshoot in the backdrop of Mumbai’s heritage delivering mesmerizing results. This year, the idea was to make my birthday even more special. I planned a visit to Hyderabad city to see the solar roof cycle track for which I connected with Santhana Selvan, the Bicycle Mayor of Hyderabad and Ravi Sambari, the founding member of the Hyderabad Cycling Revolution; and both welcomed me with enthusiasm.
Cycling Infrastructure which is futuristic:
The new solar roof cycle track in Hyderabad is a pioneering initiative to promote active mobility and sets a benchmark for other cities in India and the world to set up a world class cycling infrastructure that best suits their local conditions.
The solar roof cycle track in Hyderabad built along the Outer Ring Road, is named ‘Healthway’ and a unique masterpiece in India and only the second in the world after the South Korean Bike Highway.
It is designed considering safety of cyclists and their overall needs. It has several amenities and is accessible 24/7 for night cycling. Aimed at improving the quality of cycling experience in a sustainable way, the solar roof cycle track can be used by people of all age groups with varied purposes such as recreation, fitness, and commute.
The 23 km long and 4.5 meters wide cycle track is bidirectional and has two stretches – 8.5 kms from Nanakramguda to Telangana State Police Academy (TSPA), and 14.5 kms from Kollur to Narsingi and converges at Narsingi access which has various amenities such as drinking water, toilets etc.
The track surface is red color and made of a six-coat protective layer of acrylic polyurethane, which is resistant to water and oil and dries faster, provides steady grip, and minimizes impact of a fall.
The cycle track solar roof panels provide protection from sun, rain and offers a pleasant cycling experience during all seasons with separation from motoring traffic with 1-metre-wide green space on either side with plants and flowers that lifts the street ambience.
The project cost is 100 crores and the cycle path is built in one year by KMV projects limited. It has 16,000 solar panels fitted on the roof designed on a 3D model to mitigate uneven height of the floor. Solar panels will generate 16 MW power which will be used for the track and contribute to the main grid.
Santhana Selvan, the Bicycle Mayor of Hyderabad say’s “The Hyderabad solar roof cycling track comes with multi-fold benefits such as safety, health, eco-tourism, encourages ridership and commute trips, produces clean energy through solar panels and a classic model of sustainable development that will spur demand for more such projects in the future. It improves quality of life, ease of commuting and happiness quotient of the citizens and will help transform urban infrastructure with better use of space.”
The Back Story:
Erik Solheim, former environment minister of Norway and climate advocate and board member of several environment related organizations tweeted a video of a South Korean highway with solar panels. The tweet was noticed by Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, popularly known by his initials KTR, is an Indian politician serving as the Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development; Industries and Commerce; and Information Technology, Electronics and Communications of Telangana.
Inspired by the South Korean Bike Highway with solar panels, KTR instructed his team to create one in Hyderabad and in a year’s time the project is ready to be officially launched on 1st October 2023.
On this development, Erik Solheim says “Hats off to KTR, the Telangana leader, who saw my tweet about a similar track in Korea. KTR asked his staff if they could make such a track in Hyderabad. His people said no, this could only be done in Korea. Not being a leader who takes a no for an answer, he asked once more. And now the track is up and running. An inspiring story!”
Eik Solheim made a personal visit to the track in September and even did a ride with the administration and members of the Hyderabad cycling club.
Commenting on his experience Erik says, “Wonderful to try the new 23 km solar covered cycle track in Hyderabad. It’s the first in India, but I am sure many more will follow. Solar panels give shade when hot and shelter when raining. The track is soft and clean and amazing.”
Ravi Sambari, a climate activists quoted “Meeting and cycling alongside Erik Solheim was an honor. It’s a lifetime moment to meet you in person and thank you for your tweet on South Korean bike highway and thank you to KTR for implementing this world class cycling infrastructure in India.”
Highlights of the Solar Roof Cycle Track:
- 23 kms long and 4.5 metres wide with 3 lanes (bidirectional)
- 5 access points – Kollur, Vattinagulapalli, Nanakramguda, Narsingi and TSPA
- Toilets and Drinking water facility
- Baby care room
- First Aid
- Food trucks
- Bicycle Parking
- Bicycle Rentals
- Bicycle Service Station
- Car Parking
- Seating area
- Play area for children
- Open 24/7 with illumination for night cycling
- 50 CCTV Cameras
- Landscaping and beautification
Watch this YouTube video by Aakash and subscribe to his channel @cycling.addict.91
Enjoy this visual tour of the Solar Roof Cycle Track:
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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai