Chennai

The Chennai cyclist’s day out

Over 2,000 fitness and cycling enthusiasts will come together on July 21 to celebrate Chennai Cycling Thiruvizha at Lady Andal School, Harrington Road, Chetpet.

Organised by We are Chennai Cycling Group (WCCG), a not-for-profit group, the day-long event will get under way with the launch of the book Pedal Shakti, written by Sundar Rajan, a senior cyclist.

The book launch will be followed by workshops, guest lectures and activities centred around cycling.

Over twenty stalls set up at the venue will showcase the products of different cycle brands; and fitness-related equipment.

According to the organisers, one of the objectives of the festival is to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transport.

Started in 2012 by a few friends from Anna Nagar, WCCG is one of the most popular cycling groups in Chennai.

“We have more than 10,000 members on our Facebook page and 1000 active riders,” says Divagaran Thiyagarajan, one of the founding members of WCCG.

From Anna Nagar, the group has now spread to various neighbourhoods. It has chapters at OMR, Tambaram, Porur, Ashok Pillar and Marina. Members ride at least four times a week and on weekends they go on a long ride.

The Thiruvizha also coincides with the anniversary celebration of WCCG, where active volunteers would be honoured.

“We have identified more than 100 volunteers who have either helped us by reaching out to people in a locality or conducting daily rides,” says Thiyagarajan.

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How about cycling Sundays at your street?

To give cycling its rightful place on the urban commuting map, creating a cyclist-friendly infrastructure, which includes dedicated lanes, parking spaces and good roads, is a necessity. However, the demand for such infrastructure would be strident only if cycling becomes a movement.

WCCG understands the role residents’ associations can play in fuelling this movement and in also ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is created.

“We are in talks with the team working on the Smart City Mission, but before that we want to get more people to start cycling. It should be a people’s movement and then things will automatically fall in place,” says Balaji Prasad, secretary of the Club.

The Club is working towards having initiatives that would make certain sections free of motorised transport for a few hours of the day in order to encourage cycling. The group is also seeking to identify at least 10 places across the city where this can be implemented.

“A two-kilometre-long space is ideal to start with. If RWAs can help us identify such places where any cycling related activities can be promoted, we would be happy,” says Prasad.

If you have any ideas, email teamwccg@gmail.com

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A cycling chapter?

Want to start a cycling chapter in your neighbourhood? If you have 10 cycling enthusiasts and two members to lead and organise events, you are good enough to start one. The latest chapter of We are Chennai Cycling Club (WCCC) to be formed — Guduvancherry — will be announced at the event.

For first-timers

Mongrels is getting ready for the fifth edition of ‘Chennai Duathlon 2019’, scheduled for September 22. The sprint category for first-timers offers a 5k run – 20 k bike – 2.5 k run and the ‘classic category’ for experienced racers has 10 k run – 40 k bike – 5 k run.

The group closes registration a month prior to the event and restricts the numbers to 600, so as to be able to effectively train first-timers. The rules of the duathlon have been relaxed for their benefit.

“We give a longer cut-off time. If the average time to complete a race is 4.15 hours, the beginners are given an extra hour,” says Subba Reddy, a member, adding that the hibernation points are more in number.

WCCG’s ‘Newbie Ride’, scheduled for August 11, is also aimed at encouraging beginners.

The Club organises two such rides a year, with the first having been held in January. Anyone above 15 is welcome to take part in the event. Most of these cycling groups help participants by renting out cycles.

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/the-chennai-cyclists-day-out/article28619328.ece

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