Cycling for cycling’s sake

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Started as a whim, it turns into a mission; non-gear cycle makes a style statement

Modern bicycles are categorised by function — number of riders (one, two or more), construction (upright, folding, etc.) gearing (single speed, derailleur gears, etc), sport (mountain biking, BMX, triathlon, etc.), rider position (upright, recumbent, etc.) and propulsion (human powered, motor-assisted, etc.)

This is the age of Derailleur (multi) gear bicycles. Even those who use the cycle as a mode of transport in the city, mostly students, are riding multi-geared cycles. A variety of sports cycles are ridden by those participating in various cycling events that are becoming increasingly popular in the boroughs of the fast growing Amaravati city.

Two city-based doctors, NRI Medical College Dermatology Assistant Professor Bujji Babu Kare and consulting neurosurgeon Dharmasri, have chosen not to upgrade their means of transport and stuck to the good old, single-speed cycles, no matter how long and hard their cycling expeditions are. They have made the non-gear cycle a style statement.

Though their first expedition from Vijayawada to Guntur was a whimsical trip which gave them a lot of thrill and satisfaction, it encouraged them to undertake serious expeditions. After smaller expeditions in 2006 around the city, the duo embarked on their first major expedition from one tip of the undivided Andhra Pradesh to the other — Tada to Ichchapuram.

After a few months break, they made an expedition from Tada to Kanyakumari. Somewhere along the line, the expeditions turned into a mission.

The doctors launched a campaign against the use of plastics and even gave a few health tips to the audience in the bargain. “The heaps of garbage dumps filled with plastic affected us badly and we decided to do something about. Whenever we passed heaps of garbage filled with polythene bags and other plastic items, we stopped and spoke about ‘safe disposal’ of plastics.

“We asked people to avoid using plastic all together, but there was very strong reaction to that. People argued that the government was at fault for not banning plastic which is so harmful to the environment. We were really hurt about people dumping garbage mostly plastic and even broken glass into the gutters, sewarage and irrigation channels. We tried to tell the people the great harm they were doing by dumping garbage into the gutters,” Dr. Bujji Babu said.

Yet another arduous expedition they took up was from Hamsala Deevi in Krishna district on the east coast to Goa on the west coast. This time they took a vessel full of water from the Bay of Bengal and poured it into the Arabian Sea. The duo are now preparing for an expedition along the west coast, Goa to Kanyakumari after summer. “Cycling is like meditation for me. Nobody disturbs you and for days together you get to spend time by yourself.”

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