The night riders

The night riders

BICYCLE DIARIES

The night riders

Thanks to the rising number of cyclists, a number of cycle rides are organised across the City. But a unique one among these is the ‘South Fire Cycle Nights’, which offers cycling enthusiasts a chance to discover the sights and sounds of the City at night! 

It all began when Aditya Mendonca, a youngster with a vision to do something different, started ‘South Fire’ in 2009. The lifestyle entertainment and sports company was initially into digital marketing and branding but its popularity spiralled when Aditya introduced the ‘South Fire Cycle Nights’ in February 2013. “In Bengaluru, most youngsters only go to malls and restaurants if they want to have a good time. They don’t really get out. So I thought why not start something that helps people get out, have a good time as well as socialise,” asks Aditya.
In two years, over three lakh people have enjoyed these tours. In fact, for his contributions to the society, Aditya even won the coveted INDIAFRICA Young Visionaries Fellowship 2014-2015, which identifies promising young entrepreneurs from India and Africa. Speaking about the achievement, Aditya gushes, “It was a priceless moment.”

The rides are not only meant for cyclists but also foodies! “We try to do as many food-related trips in the City,” he says. The best part about these tours is the local touch that Aditya adds to them. “During Ramzan, we always organise a food trail on Mosque Road and since we know many of the stall owners, it’s easier for the members to explore the place.

We even went to an old couple’s house last time to relish certain delicacies that weren’t available at the stalls. We covered the ‘Averekai Mela’ too the same way,” he recalls. “If we are cycling long distances, we have a car following us so that anyone who is tired can sit. But this doesn’t happen that often because we space our rides out properly,” he adds. If you are not a cyclist, then no worries. The company also conducts walking tours and other customised holidays.

Ravikanth Somaiyaji, a software developer, has been going for the cycle rides for almost three months now. “I haven’t been in the City for very long so this is the perfect way for me to meet new people and make friends,” he says. He fondly recalls one of the rides on the Domlur Flyover. “It was late in the night and there was no traffic. So we all picked up pace and really enjoyed the ride,” he exclaims. Ravikanth says he has discovered many new places in the City thanks to the ‘South Fire Cycle Nights’. “Once we all stopped at a ‘gulkand’ store in the heart of the City, which I didn’t know existed,” he adds.   

One of the youngest cyclists in the group is Baladev, who is a BSc student at St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science. “I have made many new friends thanks to these night rides. It’s a great way to socialise as well as stay fit,” he says. “I really appreciate the fact that it is compulsory to wear a helmet when we are cycling. Even if we find someone riding a bike without a helmet, we stop and tell him or her to wear one,” he adds.

The cyclists meet every Thursday night at 10 pm on MG Road and stop for a dessert or ‘chai’. “Our main goal is for people to meet, exchange cultures and see the lovely city we live in,” he sums up. For details, log on to their Facebook page – ‘South Fire Life’.

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