CHENNAI: The Rotary Club of Madras Midtown, supported by Track and Trail Cycles, organised a country-wide cycle rally from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, titled the K2K Tour de Rotary, to promote the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan across the states of the country. It was flagged off from Besant Nagar beach on Sunday.
Twenty-one cyclists from different parts of the country were part of the rally which started nearly a month back from Jammu. They had cycled across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka before making a pit-stop in Chennai on December 2. The participants include cyclists in their early 20s to well into their 60s.
“The K2K Tour de Rotary was born to support the Central Government’s aim to make India free from open defecation through its Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan movement,” said Natarajan Nagoji, Rotary district governor 3230. “It aims to spread the message to all the States especially in rural areas through which the cyclists pass, and encourage people to avoid open defecation, ensure clean water, and proper hygiene, including raising funds for the Wash in Schools (WINS) Programme.”
He said the rally was also organised as a commemorative gesture from the Rotary Foundation as part of its efforts to eradicate polio over the years. “We are pleased to use our extensive network across the country to help support this commendable effort,” added K R Chandrasekharan, COO, TI Cycles of India.
Talking about the experience of cycling across the country, Ramalingam (64) retired government employee and one of the oldest in the group, said, “You need to have mental as well as physical toughness to undertake something like this, and there are a lot of things you need to plan for — your own food, lighting, then repairs if there are any mechanical problems on the way. Almost 90% of it is a mind-game, as it’s very lonely to cycle nearly 1 lakh km, especially since we can easily lose our balance even if a small stone gets between the tires at that speed.”
The cyclists have been clocking an average of 150-200 km every day, stopping at various points to interact with people. They have also been named the monikers of ‘Swachhagrahis’ for their mission. Also present in the group was 26-year-old Krithika, who is the only woman in the team. The group was flagged off at 6 am, and it moved to Puducherry before heading to Kanyakumari.