Students of Government Vocational and Higher Secondary School at Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram district teach cycling to their friends to spread the message of fuel conservation and healthy living.

What could be the easiest way to stay healthy, save fuel, reduce traffic congestion and at the same time have some fun? Go cycling, say students of Government Vocational and Higher Secondary School, Karakulam.

The school has joined hands with the Indus Cycle Embassy, an city based NGO, to teach cycling to students in an effort to spread the message of fuel conservation and healthy living. The project was recently inaugurated at the school where Principal N. Retnakumar handed over a free bicycle to a student representative.

The students have decided to go in for the pollution-free option in an effort to spread the message to the rest of society. Student will now dedicate their free hours and evening sessions to help their friends learn cycling under the guidance of the physical education teacher. There are close to 900 students in the school.

Mr. Retnakumar says he was more than surprised to see students, who owned bicycles, offering to teach other students.

“Many students have offered to give their cycles for practice sessions. A good number of boys already know cycling but the aim is to impart training to all the students of the schools and especially the girls”, he said.

The students have already come up with a cycle club and are planning to set up a cycle workshop with equipment such as air inflators, chain checkers, and puncture-repair kits.

Such activities help students gain confidence and develop team spirit. Anandu Jaykumar, 13, is clear on how to teach his friends. “I learnt cycling when I was in fourth standard. Once they get the balance, it is easy. I have already taught one of my friends”, he says.

But the students are a bit concerned about the lack of safety ensured for riders on the roads. Abijith, for instance, feels the roads should be widened and special tracks earmarked for cyclists.

“There is so much pollution and it is good to use bicycles but the Government should encourage this (cycling) by giving good roads”, he says.

The lack of good roads does not seem to stop these students, who plan to organise a cycle rally in January to spread the message ‘Stay healthy and save the earth’.