THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Riding for a cause is steadily becoming a norm. Puducherry-based 34-year-old Ragunath Veeravel, a cyclist, pedalled from Puducherry to Thiruvananthapuram for nearly three days to spread awareness on saving the environment and inculcate the habit of cycling among the public. “The main purpose of this expedition was to encourage more people to take up cycling and spread awareness on conservation. During my journey, I encouraged people to ride bicycles to commute to their workplace and shorter distances as it's a great way to reduce pollution,” said Ragunath.
His customised green bicycle attracted attention wherever he went. He pedalled through Puducherry and passed through places such as Trichy, Madurai, Kurtralam and finally ended his ride in Thiruvananthapuram. “People were definitely curious on why I had embarked on a long-distance ride. I'm focusing on college and school students to take this cause forward," shared the cyclist.
A marine engineer by profession, Ragunath started his project 'Nalam Valam' two years ago after quitting his job. Through the project, he has been spreading awareness about the need to save the environment by encouraging people to plant or adopt trees. Besides the project, he has promoted cycling in and around Puducherry and Chennai. However, this is his longest ride - covering two states in three days. He said, "Tress are felled in large numbers every year. There is no barren land left anymore, 90 per cent of the land is occupied by concrete buildings. If this practice continues, we can't guarantee how long we will survive. So to create awareness among the public, especially youngsters, I started the project 'Nalam Valam'."
Ragunath has been encouraging people to take up cycling in Puducherry and Chennai.
“The awareness has increased among people and during my ride I happened to meet Subramaniyan, a carpenter who has been cycling to work for the past 15 years. Some people have the interest but they don't get a platform for such cause. Through my project, I am making a platform for those people,” he said. On World Earth day, Ragunath created awareness to minimise the use of plastic. For those who cannot plant a tree, they can adopt one and take care of it through Ragunath's project.The cyclist reached the city on Sunday and will be staying in Kanthari, an educational and training institute for the seven months and will be conducting workshops for youngsters.