BSA Hercules Chennai Cycling 2012 drew professionals and children to drive home a message for a cleaner environment

Riders with toned calf muscles that bear witness to constant cycling. Flabby riders who cycle daily to shed weight. VIP riders pedalling to draw attention to social causes. Corporate bigwigs sacrificing their hard-earned Sunday lie-ins and nailing their colours to the initiative. Kid riders joining this motley crowd with bikes that bear support wheels. And, not to forget, a sea of on-lookers at Marina cheering these riders.

The ‘BSA Hercules Chennai Cycling 2012' on Sunday last was a veritable testimony to the city's growing love for the bicycle and to the increasing popularity of mass cycling as a vehicle for social change.

Children spread cheer

“The enthusiastic response to this initiative — measured partly by an impressive number of participants and the unstinted support extended by various arms of the Government — clearly proves that we have taken our first baby steps towards a green city,” says Tanvi Shah, playback singer and founder-member of CRX Sports.

Spectators will agree that the highlight of the event was the sight of kids — some, around six years old — riding tiny cycles and their parents running behind them.

Surprised that children could display such enthusiasm for a cycling activity, actor Karthi — who flagged off the “Parent Circle Kids Ride” — promised to return for the next year's edition, but as a cyclist himself.

The event drew a cross-section of people, but it was essentially a sports event with a lot of attractive frills. There was National men's race (56 km) and women's race (32 km) for professional cyclists.

As these extremely athletic riders were doing their laps, going down the roads that hug Marina beach, Napier Bridge and the War Memorial, lusty-voiced spectators encouraged them.

The interest evoked by these races bears out the belief of the organisers. Days before the event, managing director of CRX Sports Rohit Kutappa stressed that sporting events the world over support various social causes.

Besides “pedalling home” the need to embrace an environment-friendly mode of transport and work towards a greener Chennai, this event supported the cause of United Way of Chennai, which seeks to improve the skills of the under-privileged and physically-challenged and help them take charge of their lives.

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