Cycle to work, the new health mantra for some Bangalore youth
Vol 1 | Issue 16
Ravi Ranjan, an electronics and communications engineer with ST-Ericsson, an IT company, is so passionate about cycling that he simply cycles to work from his house in Sarjapur Road to KR Puram.
The founder of Ride a Cycle Foundation, 33-year-old Ravi says he started cycling for two reasons. Five years ago when his first son was born, he found he was not fit enough to play with him. So he began to cycle 26 km to work. “I would take the village roads through Carmelaram or Varthur and enjoy the greenery and fresh air,” he says.
Cycling aficionado Ravi Ranjan cycles 26 km daily from his home to workplace
Ravi started with a BSA Roadster with a single gear but today he own three bikes. “A Bianchi Aeron which has 20 gears is a road bike and it cost me Rs 25,000. My Giant has 24 gears, and is a mountain bike. I bought it on a business trip to France for Rs 62,000. I also have a Fixie from Schwinn that cost me Rs 10,000,” he says.
Ravi and his friends go to corporate houses and give presentations about how healthy it is to cycle. “We take cycles with us so people can try them out in the campuses. We encourage them to use the cycle as their daily mode of transport like we do,” he reveals.
They have also floated ‘park a cycle’ project. This is to aid people who work too far away to cycle the whole distance from home to workplace. “Say if someone has to cycle 30 km each way, it can be exhausting doing 60 km in a day. What we are encouraging is the last mile commute, where people cycle up to areas where there are frequent buses. We have made arrangements for them to park their cycles safely in shops like Printo or large apartment buildings free of cost. People help by providing space for the cycles to be parked safely for the day. Then the cyclist takes the bus back to pick up his cycle and pedals that one km home.”
Ravi has also started a ‘cycle re-cycle’ project where people can donate their broken cycles which are repaired by them and donated to kids who enjoy cycling. This encourages children to take to cycling, rather than being ferried around in cars, he says.
In 2008, Rajesh Nair, a friend from the US called Ravi and suggested doing a tour of South India on a cycle. “I immediately agreed and we found people with a common interest on bikezone.com - an online forum for cyclists. It was a great success and that’s when the idea of starting a foundation germinated. One has to be a legal entity to connect with sponsors or the government and that’s why I floated Ride a Cycle Foundation which is an NGO. Through that we hope to get the government to give cyclists a dedicated cycling track, parking areas and other facilities,” he explains.