Brevet, an international cycling event that makes its debut in the city, will give an impetus to the sport and a healthy lifestyle

Pedalling into the city, in the New Year, is the international cycling event Brevet. Kochi will be hosting this long distance cycling event, for the first time, on January 19, and will be the eighth city in India to join the group of cities to hold a Brevet. The city has over the last few years built up a fairly large community of committed bikers. Many clubs that encourage the sport have sprung up. This Brevet called the Cochin Classic 200 BRM (Brevets Randonneuts Mondiaux) is organised by city-based clubs Cochin Bikers Club (CBC) and The Happy Bikers. The two have been active in promoting the sport by organising city events consistently and encouraging folks to join in.

Pradeep Menon, 33, has participated in the Chennai and Pune Brevet, is a randonneur, a moniker for participants who complete a Brevet in the allocated time. He is excited and proud that his city is hosting the event. An IT professional, Pradeep cycles 46 km daily to work.

Brevet has its origins in Audax (from the word audacious) a cycling sport in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a defined time limit. It is a non-competitive sport and success is measured by its completion.

Abraham Clancy Ross, a biker with CBC, explains, “Randonneuring is a long distance endurance cycling sport internationally administered by Audax Club Parisien, France, through accredited clubs or organisations in various countries. Brevet is a randonnuering event in which a cyclist has to complete the allocated distance, 200 km or more within a certain time frame passing through various check points.” The route charted out will take bikers from Palarivattom to Muvattupuzha and back, a total of 216 km.

Abraham elaborates that any vehicle solely powered by a human is allowed to participate in the Brevet. Thus persons using modified cycles too can participate. The ride has to be completed in 13 and a half hours.

Shagzil Khan, a tour guide and a biker, is hopeful that the event will be a turning point for the sport and encourage a healthy lifestyle that it endorses. Kiran Thomman, 37, began cycling for fitness. Cycling is now an integral part of his daily routine. “We have to start somewhere. Unless we do something like this we will not be able to remove certain myths about cycling,” he says, elaborating that there is a notion that riding even five km is difficult. “Actually it is not. Once people try the sport they can rid themselves of these untruths.” Kiron rides 35 km on alternate days in a little more than an hour and burns up to 1,500 calories.

Young Joseph Paul, a Business Analyst with OEN, joined the club at his uncle’s behest and is truly grateful to him. “This Brevet is 200 km or Level 1, which is easy. It is starting point for the cycling community.”

The charted route makes a loop in the city and then moves into the countryside via the Seaport-Airport Road, to Piravom and Muvattupuzha. The organisers who are expecting riders from outside the State too have drawn up a route that combines a slice of the city with the beautiful rural countryside.

Jose Palanthinkal is looking forward to the event. “To combat both weather and traffic will be a challenge,” he says, lamenting the fact that there is no respect for the cyclist yet in our way of life. He has been part of awareness rides done on the occasion of Car Free Day and on AIDS Day. Jose sees a definite increase in cycling in the city. “Yes surely the cycling community is building,” he declares. Shuhaib Abdul Rehman, who is the founder of CBC, is pleased that his efforts at building such a community are finally witnessing fruition. The CBC boasts of 600 plus members and is growing. He is hoping that events like this will wheel in a change in lifestyle and in the mindset of people. He is already planning the next big event for October.

For more information about the event, contact: 9846025950