The Weekend Leader - The cyclists

They promote the use of bicycle so that you may breathe in clean air

Latha Suresh


Vol 3 | Issue 6

Cycle Chalao!’ is a popular slogan in every bicycle rally in India. The shout out is used by everyone who cares for the environment, the public transportation, and our society.

Raj Janagam and Jui Gangan, two enterprising Management Graduates in Mumbai, are the leading experts in Bicycle Sharing Systems for developing countries, with an award winning and world recognized brand – ‘Cycle Chalao!’ that they founded in India. 

Green entrepreneurs: Raj Janagam and Jui Gangan are happy that their idea worked (Photo courtesy: Conversations)

They have spent the last three years in pioneering work for bicycle sharing systems for which they were featured by Forbes, Fast Company, and Outlook Business Magazines.

They have been also acclaimed as social entrepreneurs and fellows at Unreasonable Institute, Unlimited India, Foundation for Youth in Social Entrepreneurship and PUKAR.

Presently, they are working with the Ministry of Urban Development (Government of India) and Pune City Municipal Corporation in designing and implementing mass-based high impact bicycle sharing systems in India.

“We could not find a better word to describe what we are doing! We are India's leading bicycle sharing social enterprise. Bicycle Sharing (known as Bike Sharing in the west) is one of the major activities for us coupled with Bicycle Promotions and Bicycle Advocacy.

“It's all about giving you the power to curb air and noise pollution; save fuel; burn calories and improve fitness; save time and save money,” say the founders.

The project was first piloted at Mumbai and this was their strategy:

Service: Mulund East Railway Station to Vaze Kelkar College (Distance: 2.5kms)

Customers: Students of Vaze Kelkar College who pay a very minimal charge for hiring the cycles.

How it works: 30 cycles are kept at a Cycle Chalao point near the railway station. The students hire the cycles and cycle their way to college. They drop the cycles at the college at the Cycle Chalao enclosure.

Those who want to go back to station hire the cycles and ride back to the Cycle Chalao point near the railway station. These points are manned by the Cycle Chalao team.

The Students of Kelkar College are now using bicycles in their routine commuting between college and railway station for the last few months. By picking up a bike from station and dropping it at the college and vice-versa, reaching college has never been so fun, easy, green and cool for these youngsters.

“I subscribed to the service not only for economic and eco-friendly reasons, but also because it is fun riding a bicycle and it makes a lot of sense to travel this way. I swiftly ride through the traffic and actually reach my college early,” says Swejal, a student.

“The best part was that all our subscriptions were sold off in the first week of the launch itself,” says Rai. “We've successfully converted many students who used to travel by auto-rickshaws to bicycles.

“Apart from cutting their carbon footprints and burning calories they also saved money and made the vicinity of their college a bit cleaner, greener, and quieter,” quips Gangan.

“The success of the model operationally and financially showed the feasibility of Cycle Chalao! and answers all the doubts raised by our critics in the best way possible,” concludes Gangan. (Courtesy: Conversations)

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