Try to swerve left, it turns right: Kerala students use fun bicycle to promote cycling

Seven students from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, cycled from Kozhikode to the capital city, using fun ways to initiate more youngsters into riding.
Try to swerve left, it turns right: Kerala students use fun bicycle to promote cycling
Try to swerve left, it turns right: Kerala students use fun bicycle to promote cycling
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It’s like a disobedient child. You call it here, it goes there. You try to swerve left, it turns right. But that’s the way it was designed, this new cycle that its makers call Brain Cycle. One of its designers – Muhammed Musadhiq C – has gone ahead and ridden it all the way from Kozhikode to Thiruvananthapuram. Seven of them – all fourth year mechanical engineering students from the College of Engineering – have been on a mission to promote cycling in colleges. They just thought that if you make it fun, there would be more takers to cycling.

“We are part of the CET Cycling Club and made the Brain Cycle for a tech fest. It is not easy to ride at all. When the handle is turned left, the cycle would turn right and vice versa. It takes time to learn it, even – and especially – if you ride the regular cycle,” says Gopikrishnan, one of the other riders. Only Muhammed rode the Brain Cycle, others rode regular ones. They have all been used to cycling from their younger days, growing up mostly in north Kerala, and coming to join a green campus like CET has only made them fonder of the modest two-wheeler.

“We cycle to our college and to nearby spots – we call it Pedal to Peak and ride to Ponmudi Hills on weekends, sometimes we cycle to the wetlands of Veli, Vellayani and Akkulam,” Gopi adds. Along with Gopi and Muhammed, there are, at the Manaveeyam Veedi in Thiruvananthapuram, Labeeb, Jaseem, Mohammed Niyas P, Rashad and Shihabudheen. All of them have just reached the capital on the evening of March 6. They are being honoured by the Indus Cycling Embassy and Manaveeyam artistes.

The ride, called Cycilolam, which started from Kozhikode on February 27, was organised by CET and Green Care Mission. The group stopped at 10 colleges on the way to talk about the importance of cycling and invited students for a game to try and ride the Brain Cycle for 500 metres and win Rs 500 for it. “When we make it fun like that, it attracts more people to cycling,” says Gopi.

Muhammed, who shows us how to ride the cycle, has had to practise for months to get it right. “The main idea is to bring youngsters back to cycling,” he says. As part of their campaign the students are also promoting green protocol, Haritha Keralam mission and other green initiatives.

“We have been conducting fun activities that encourage more young people to take up cycling. At the 2016 Biennale, we got schoolchildren to collect discarded plastic pens – they collected about one lakh pens! Forty cyclists rode from Kozhikode to Kochi carrying these pens and an art installation was made from it – it was called Immini Velya Oru Onnu (A Big Fat One),” says KTA Nazer of Green Care Mission. “Now we are bringing out the Big Cycle Book in which celebrities write about their cycling experiences,” he adds.

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