On Sunday morning, November 4, Simferopol cyclists crowded in Pryvokzalna square, waiting to take part in the First Streetcar Track Race (following line No.1, which ran in the Crimean capital from 1914 till 1921). The turnout was a pleasant surprise (over 70 participants). Another was the weather, which benevolently changed from shower into a warm and sunny day. At 10 sharp, with the last stroke of the chimes on Simferopol’s main clock tower, the column of cyclists started the race, temporarily blocking public transport in Lenin Boulevard. The cyclists would not heed the masterminds’ requests to please keep to the right, effectively crowding the entire width of the street. The average speed was quite moderate despite the presence of individuals sporting professional equipment. Passers-by were smiling and waving at the racers, while the latter were eyeing their colleagues with curiosity.
As the smiling and flushed participants arrived at the finish, they were offered to write some wishes on the route map. Tamara PLESHKO, chairperson of the ARC Republican Committee for Transport and Communications in the Youth Government, said to The Day: “We can see that the idea is appealing. At the moment we are busy creating an initiative group, and we have got the ball rolling: some people have come up with ideas concerning the scheme of biking paths in the city. We are going to discuss and present them. The opening of the first biking path in Simferopol is slated on the cycling season opening day in 2013.”
Mykola DRUCHYNIN, deputy chairman, ARC Republican Committee for Transport and Communications:
“We have handpicked this route because of the 35th anniversary of the Simferopol Streetcar and Trolleybus Museum. The streetcar is an environmentally friendly means of transport, and so is the bicycle. Our action aimed at bringing environmentally friendly vehicles into the limelight in Simferopol and in the Crimea. The bicycle is not merely a means of transport, but also a sport and a way to keep people out of harm’s way.
“Nowadays cycling sport is gaining momentum in the Crimea, with Yevpatoria in the lead. I was very favorably impressed by today’s race, which I did from start to finish. I am happy that I kept in the ‘golden middle’ with the young people, rather than lagged behind, although I hadn’t cycled for years.”
Andrii, a participant in the race:
“It was good, but too short. I wish the route was some 50 kilometers longer. It was a bit disorganized: people are used to cycling on their own, so they did as they pleased. It is absolutely necessary to get more participants involved in such events, because people worldwide have long been aware of the good that cycling does.
“Cycling has made a lot of progress in our city, compared with previous years: bicycles are selling well, cyclists are becoming more and more sophisticated, and drivers have more respect for cyclists as traffic participants. Only 10 years ago no one would pay any attention to us, but now they are listening.”