Cycling 1,000 km for a cause

Cycling 1,000 km for a cause

A group of five men have cycled over 1,000 kilometres from Belapur in Mumbai to Bangalore over the course of the last nine days.

Their expedition, while bordering on the adventurous, was conducted to spread the message about the dangers of viral infections, communicable diseases, female foeticide, vaccination of children and of the importance of saving petrol and diesel.

Gnaneshwar Rajaram Sawanth, a 41-year-old employee of the Konkan Railways, who led the cycling expedition, said that the tour was to make people aware of the importance of health and environment. Other members of the team comprise Kishor Raut, 39, Minaj Jhari, 36 — both employees of Konkan Railways, Raju Koltakar, 23, and Amol Kotkar, 21.
This is their third tour. Two years ago, when the team started touring, they travelled to Mangalore. Last year, they went to New Delhi and this year, they visited Bangalore.

“This is our own way to serve society, educate people and create awareness,” Sawanth said. “Through our journey we have tried to spread awareness on the importance of saving petrol and diesel for the future by bicycling more.

We spoke to people about following traffic rules; educated villagers and rural folk on the importance of nurturing female children and vaccination. We also created awareness among drivers of public transport vehicles like buses and autorickshaws about HIV/ AIDS. We spoke to villagers about maintaining cleanliness and hygiene to safeguard themselves from dengue, chikungunya, malaria and other diseases.”

The group covered an average of 100-110 kms per day, often travelling through nine to twelve villages, talking to people and handing over booklets printed in Hindi, to spread the message.

According to Sawanth, the fact that they use bicycles has made them approachable. “People look at us in cycles and associate with us. They approach us and listen to us. They ask us questions and also show interest in spreading the message forward. There are also many people who think that we are wasting our time as this is the duty of the government. But we try to tell them that, as citizens, social responsibility is the right of each and every individual in society.”

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