Pedalling to protest
For Mohammed Habeeb, it is his first long ride. He is a new convert to cycling. Now he, along with his seniors at the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, has started a mega ride, one that will cover a good 1,200 km, a ride from the city till Kasaragod and back to Thiruvananthapuram.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:For Mohammed Habeeb, it is his first long ride. He is a new convert to cycling. Now he, along with his seniors at the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, has started a mega ride, one that will cover a good 1,200 km, a ride from the city till Kasaragod and back to Thiruvananthapuram.
Bearing the placards 'Ride Against Petrol Hike,' he, along with two engineering students Mufil Rahman and Abdul Rasheed, started their journey on Monday morning. They are undertaking their Ramadan fast, but they have also set a mammoth target: to possibly make a few people switch to the green transport mode of cycling.
The students are protesting against the fuel price hike by pedalling their way through the state. The team intends to interact with the public and spread awareness about the advantages of cycling.
“This is one mode of transportation which has no downsides, an organic and environment-friendly mode of transportation. At a time when the petrol price rise is spiralling, we intend to encourage more people to adopt cycling as a mode of transport,” says Habeeb, as he took a break in his ride at Harippad, waiting out on his friends to join him.
“Most people were shocked to learn that we are covering more than 1,000 km. We intend to bring more people into the fold of bicycling,” he adds. The youngsters intend to return to Thiruvananthapuram by June 1.
“The weather is pleasant and so far the ride has been comfortable though we had to slow down owing to a puncture in one of our friend's cycle. Even as we were waiting for the puncture shop to open, we interacted with a few people in the area. It was a healthy interaction and we were able to discuss cycling and the advantages associated with them,” says Habeeb.
Mufil, a third-year mechanical engineering student of CET who is part of the ride, says the ride is a fitting reply to people who discourage cycling as a mode of transport saying it is impractical. “Around 50 per cent of my travel is now using a bicycle. Maybe for a long-distance ride, you might have to use other modes of transportation but for shorter distances and other errands, you can use a bicycle. When one person uses the bicycle, he is reducing the amount of carbon, easing the pressure on fuel and making the environment a better place,” says Mufil. “We are trying to develop a cycling culture among the people. Most people stop us midway and we have been interacting with many since our ride started,” he added.
“Even as the global crude oil prices are low, there has been a steep rise in the fuel price and this is our protest against the hike. Along with that, we are trying to create awareness among the public about the benefits of cycling and make them adopt it as their transport mode,” says third-year mechanical engineering student Gopikrishnan S, one of the founding members of the CET Cycling Club who had to back out form the ride due to health issues. The ride is being attempted by the students of the club.