Pedalling to glory

Pedalling to glory

Club culture

Pedalling to glory

Apart from being called the ‘startup’ capital, the City is also home to a growing community of informal clubs and groups. One such popular club is ‘SouthFire Cycling’. Launched in February 2013, this group was started as a place where people could have fun and meet new people while they ride their bicycles. Having more than 8000 members, with 1200 active members, this group encourages both day and night rides.

Aditya Mendonca, an entrepreneur and the founder of the SouthFire Cycling group, says, “Today this group is one of the largest bicycle communities in South India. This started when I was really bored of the usual clubbing scene in Bengaluru; that’s when I thought of attempting to use cycling as a tool to find a newer and creative way to unwind.” Noticing that the City had a scattered approach towards outdoor sports, Aditya’s main motive was to encourage people to take up something different as a leisure activity. That’s when he started the group with the help of a couple of friends.

“It is 2016 and I’m marveled at our growth, our steady stream of patrons from around the world and all the new friends I’ve managed to make,” says a thrilled Aditya.

Avinaba Basu, an active member of SouthFire Cycling, says, “I have been with the group since March 2014. I have been a regular rider since then. It’s amazing to see the manner in which Aditya manages and conducts rides keeping in mind all the equipment and safety measures. It is a self-managed group and this is what the emphasis is on — to carry our own riding gear like helmets and lights. It has been a long journey with SouthFire and I must say it’s been a fun one. Everytime we go cycling, we take a different and newer route to explore. Out of the 3 breakfast rides that I was a part of, my favourite is the New Year ride we recently had.”

Along with launching the group, Aditya also managed to start something called the ‘SouthFire Cycle Nights’ explaining which Vikram Magal, another member of the group, says, “We were the ones who started the trend of Thursday night cycling rides. It is to give a twist to one’s mid-week relaxation and de-stress in a different way other than partying. At SouthFire, we have riders who have got onto a bicycle after 10 years. There are people from all walks of life and ages.”

Recently, they hit their 125th weekly ride and have organised over 60 breakfast rides.
Member Rahul Nair says, “The consistency in terms of rides and events has been steady since the start of the group. In fact, every ride is different from the last and we don’t repeat our routes as well.”

The group has pedalled down to places like Mysuru, Coorg, Chikkamagaluru, Bandipur, Kolar, Hosakote, Nandi Hills, Hesaraghatta and Ooty. Most of their rides happen twice a week, mostly on Wednesdays and during the weekends.

Apart from having a good time riding around the City, this group, according to Vikram, is very particular about the safety measures. “Every rider has to wear a helmet, comfortable and bright (only during night rides) clothes, carry a water bottle and an emergency toolkit. We also give a safety brief before we start a ride,” says Vikram.

Their future plans include expanding the SouthFire Cycling community, all across India and even outside. “We wish to see more cyclists across all age groups hitting the streets and watching SouthFire expand in terms of area of mobility,” says Aditya.

(The club can be contacted at 9880484187)

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