Fitness Chennai

A piece of OMR in Tirupur

Some of the members of Tirupur Cycling Group and (below) Arunkumar (in red jersey) with riders from OMR-ECR chapter of WCCG. Photos: Special Arrangement  

In the last year-and-a-half, Arunkumar R, a member of the OMR-ECR chapter of We Are Chennai Cycling Group (WCCG), has demonstrated that old habits die hard. When his company announced work from anywhere due to the pandemic, he moved to his home town Tirupur, his trusty and friendly hybrid bicycle tagging along with him.

From cycling-to-work in Bengaluru to discovering-new-trails in Chennai (along with members of WCCG), Arunkumar has a structure to his life, on the saddle. The pandemic was not going to change that one bit.

In the early days of the lockdown, Arunkumar would cycle alone, in full gear — jersey and shorts, helmet and sports shoes — down the narrow streets at a leisurely pace rediscovering the textile city.

“With my WhatsApp status featuring images from these rides, people in my contact list, some of them from Tirupur, got curious,” says Arunkumar.

His roommate Shanthossh and brother Rameshkumar R. were the first to join him and soon followed a few neighbours and juniors from school.

Arunkumar (in red jersey) with the OMR-ECR riders

Arunkumar (in red jersey) with the OMR-ECR riders  

Today, Arun administers a WhatsApp group Tirupur Cycling Group.

“It is a small community of bicycle riders, but I am happy we were able to revive peoples’ interest in cycling during the pandemic,” says Arunkumar.

Two entrepreneurs Arun and Kissan Vignesh invested in a professional cycle after the group rides got exciting. Vijay Balaji and Navaneeth have given up PUBG for cycling. Apparel and other paraphernalia were shipped from Chennai.

Arunkumar sees this development as an opportunity to continue with the routine and at the same time promote cycling.

He focusses on endurance building, cycling techniques, safety tips and bicycle maintenance.

“I am not sure if there is a professional cycling group in my home town but whenever we hit the road, passersby usually look at is as if they have never seen people pedalling together.”

Every day, the group hits the road around 5.30 a.m., at a decent clip of 20kph covering 30 km. During the weekends, the group ranges over the outskirts, taking in hills, temples and estuaries.

“Group motivation is necessary to build a routine, cover long distances and achieve fitness goals,” says Arunkumar, adding that except for a two-month-long break during the second wave, the group did not miss a day’s cycling

The question that remains to be answered: Will the group members stay on the saddle, even after moving back to their work cities?


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 3:08:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-piece-of-omr-in-tirupur/article35505717.ece

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