THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Babu Abraham, an advocacy manager with Pallium India, had cycled all the way from Vattappara on World Car Free Day, extending solidarity to a movement of adhering to the green mode of transportation. Babu was one among the many who had travelled from far and wide to take part in the event.
At the crack of dawn on Sunday, Manaveeyam Veedhi was swarmed by cyclists. More than 100 cyclists congregated in the cultural corridor and rode the bicycles though the city. On World Car Free Day, the city cyclists and the corporation put forth a new message of environmental sustainability by celebrating cycling.
The day began with a cycle rally. Inaugurating the movement, Mayor VK Prasanth who arrived on an electric scooter said that when measures were taken all over the world to promote green modes of transportation, such new initiatives were the need of the hour. “This is the start of a new culture. When steps are being taken across the world to tackle pollution, this start here assumes significance. We will soon set up cycling tracks in public spots. One is being readied in APJ Abdul Kalam Park,” said Prasanth.
"The focus is to keep as many cars away from the streets and make more people take up cycling. This is the first time that the car-free day is observed in the state. From next year, we intend to create more awareness and encourage more people to take up green modes of transport. Some policy level decisions can also help. As many as 141 cyclists came today for the rally," said Prakash P Gopinath, bicycle mayor and founder of Indus Cycling embassy, one of the cycling clubs in the city pioneering the initiative.
Anyone could walk in and get their cycles repaired for free, learn the basics of cycle repair by lending a hand to the mechanic, ride the bicycles kept on display including the Tandem bicycle or donate one’s worn-out bicycle for the corporation’s ‘Cycle Brigade’ initiative.
The Cycle Brigade is the joint initiative of the corporation, Haritha Kerala Mission and Indus Cycling Embassy. As many as ten bicycles were donated by afternoon. These will be repaired and donated to schools to be used in their cycling clubs. “The idea of cycle brigade is three-fold- to reuse the old cycles, promote cycling and creating awareness about cycling. The thrust is on reducing carbon footprint,” said Gopikrishnan C, who is part of the Haritha Kerala Mission and curator of the mission.
A set of unique bicycles were kept at the stalls for people to try out. The brain cycle challenge was also underway. The cycle turns right when the handle is turned left. The unique challenge was to ride the cycle designed by mechanical engineer Muhamed Musadhiq for 10 metres for Rs 1,000.