“The Bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine”
– John Howard, US Cyclist.
Cycling can be a lot of fun. What is best about it is, that it can be an activity that can be done as a family or solo if that is what you prefer. Here are 5 locations that have a cycling track while in other locations you may have to carve your own.
1. Bellanwila cycling track
This is a 3km route located in Colombo. This riding track is located near the Wera lake. If you do not own a bicycle, you can rent one for a nominal fee. The path is wide enough for at least 5 people to walk abreast. The cycling path is tarred and runs parrel to the walking path. The path and the entire surrounding area is well maintained and if you feel like you want to grab a bite or just enjoy a glass of fruit juice, there are 3 food stalls to choose from. There are multiple entries to the Bellanwila cycling venue along with ample parking.
Opening Hours: Daily from 4:30 am – 11:00 pm
2. Marine Drive
Marine Drive was constructed to reduce the traffic congestion on the Galle Road. It stretches for about 6.8 km (from the Dehiwela to the Colpetty railway stations along Marine Drive). There isn’t a cycling track along Marine Drive, but when there is less traffic and if the weather is right, it is a cyclist’s paradise. An added bonus is that you can enjoy a lovely view of the Indian Ocean. So don’t forget to stop and take in the awesome view of the ocean. The best time to cycle on Marine Drive is before 7:00 am on weekdays as there is heavy traffic thereafter, weekends are also highly recommended as they might give you ample opportunity to meet other cycling enthusiasts.
3. Independence Square
Independence Square is well-known and a much-frequented location for fitness enthusiasts. There is a cycling track located there and a cycling rental spot. To reach the cycling rental spot, you have to find your way to the ‘Open Fitness Kiosk’ located next to the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. Once you are there, you will see the cycling track and walking pathway. Keep walking till you reach a small shed with a collection of bicycles. You can rent a bicycle for a nominal fee. The bicycles are not the best in the world but they are alright, good enough to ride along the 800m stretch of bicycle track. If you decide to go in the evening finding adequate parking might be a bit of a challenge.
4. Vihara Maha Devi Park
Vihara Maha Devi Park is not crowded in the evenings; hence it is an ideal location to cycle uninterrupted especially if you are looking for a quiet but picturesque track. There is a bicycle rental shed located directly opposite the park, close to Nelum Pokuna Road. The rental for the bicycles is not expensive and neither are the bicycles in the best condition. The cycling circuit is 2 km long. A word of caution, be mindful of the walkers and joggers on the track and the street lamps do not give off much light so the light isn’t that great to cycle after 7 pm. So, it is a good thing that the park closes at 7 pm.
5. Madiwela Cycling Path
It is an ideal place for cycling for the entire family. The cycling track is well constructed and covers a stretch of about 1 ½ km. There is parking for 40 vehicles so you can park and cycle. There is also a bicycle rental shed. The cycling path is located in close proximity to a paddy field and if you are fortunate, you might be able to see a variety of species of birds. There is no opening or closing times for this cycling track, since it is well lit up you can go at any time you, please. There are also little concrete benches ‘if you need to catch your breath and close your eyes.’
You need not be an athlete or a fitness freak to enjoy cycling. All you need is an adventurous streak with much caution as in anything we do in life! Happy Cycling!