Cycling when all's quiet

Cycling when all's quiet

Come Thursday nights and you will find young men and women riding their cycles into midnight.

So the next time you spot a group of youngsters whizzing past on their cycles, don’t be surprised! These night riders are on a mission to ‘reclaim the City’.

   Aditya Mendonca, who conceptualised and created ‘South Fire Cycle Nights’, was on a holiday in Indonesia when this idea struck him.

“In 2012, while I was visiting Bali, I came across this concept. That’s when I realised that Bangalore really needed something like that,” says Aditya, adding, “We chose Thursday since it’s usually an evening when there’s not much happening.”

Anyone can join the ride and the group has 15 to 40 enthusiasts taking part.

“I started off alone and then a couple of my friends joined. And then it’s through word-of-mouth and social networking sites that the group has grown. We have riders between 19 and 36 years of age,” he points out.

The route is usually disclosed only at the start-point to retain the element of
surprise.

Pointing out that they recently did their 50th ride, Aditya says, “We meet on MG Road and sometimes head to South Bangalore and at other times, to Malleswaram or Sarjapura.”  Those who don’t own a cycle have the option of hiring it from a third party. Adding to the fun, they also have themes for the rides.

“For instance during ‘Halloween’, we had asked the bikers to come in costumes suited for the occasion,” says Aditya. Marketing professional Aniketh Premnath, who has been taking part in the rides, says that even with the road-blocks they face, it’s an evening he looks forward to.

“Even otherwise, I enjoy cycling to work and back. There are issues of traffic especially since we start the round in the heart of the City. Of course, bad roads have to be dealt with at every step,” he says, adding, “Even so, I really hope that being part of this initiative will motivate others to take up cycling as well.”

Disha Oberoi, a radio-jockey and one of the few girls who takes part in the rides, says, “Usually, it’s tough for a girl to head out alone during the night for a ride. But here, we are with like-minded people from different walks of life. It’s a great way to network and unwind at the same time.”

Samuel Paul Richard, a technical writer who hadn’t ridden a cycle in eight years when he joined the group, says, “I rented a bike the first few times, after which I decided to buy one. And now, a couple of my friends have also joined, so it’s good fun. My passion for cycling has been rekindled.” For details, contact Aditya on 9880484187 or log on to www.fb.com/southfire.am

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