Fed up with spending hours fuming in his car, inching along in the monotony of bumper-to-bumper traffic in Kochi, a city resident has stopped using his car and is now cycling to commute to work daily. For 48-year-old Abhishek Xavier, it wasn’t a decision he made lightly but a deliberate choice to reclaim his mornings from the clutches of gridlocked traffic and to prioritise his health in the process.
Abhishek, an architect cum urban designer and visiting faculty of Urban Design at the School of Environmental Design (SEED), Muvattupuzha, decided to start cycling to work, realising the time he wasted and the stress accumulated using his car in heavy traffic. Abhishek, who worked in England for years as an urban designer, moved back to Kochi a few years ago.
“As an Urban Designer in England, we were more focused on developing sustainable models for city development. My colleagues used to cycle to work, promoting sustainable spaces and environments. Upon returning to Thoppumpady, his hometown in Kochi, I realised that I was spending most of my time in my car commuting to and from work through heavy traffic. This made me start cycling again,” Abhishek told “Open Digest“.
His decision wasn’t just about escaping congestion; it was a conscious effort to nurture his well-being. The daily cycling ritual became his physical exercise and also meditation, a time when he could disconnect from the chaos of the world and reconnect with himself.
In fact, cycling coincided with his role as an Urban Designer also for the Smart City Project in Kochi, where he and his team proposed cycle lanes for the city. Abhishek now cycles from his home in Thoppumpady to Willington Island and then catches a boating service to Ernakulam. He also uses the Metro rail service from Kadavanthara to reach Kaloor where he works.
“I now enjoy both the cycle ride and the boat ride to work and back. Fresh air, rain, nature, and backwaters have become part of my daily commute to work,” he says. He adds that he would never trade it for being stuck in traffic jams in his car. Nowadays, he cycles to Kadavanthra and catches the metro to Kaloor where he works.
Abhishek has chosen a simple yet effective travel mode to skip the frustrations of traffic and enjoy nature. He wants his hometown, Kochi, to be one of the greenest and most sustainably planned cities in the world where walking, cycling, and public transportation are given the utmost priority. His decision to abandon his car for a bicycle wasn’t just a lifestyle change; it was a choice against the mundane, a commitment to health and the environment.