Project Annamalai in Chennai to promote cycling, help the needy

Felix John, Bicycle Mayor, Chennai and We are Chennai Cycling Group are raising funds to donate cycles to those who need them, and are also promoting cycling as a means of commuting to work

In a bid to promote cycling and to help the needy who need transport to travel and earn a living, cycling enthusiasts in Chennai has come forward to procure cycles through crowd-funding and donate them, via a project, ‘Project Annamalai.’

This is an initiative by Felix John, Bicycle Mayor, Chennai and We are Chennai Cycling Group (WCCG), a not-for-profit group. The initiaitive was named Project Annamalai after actor Rajnikanth’s movie Annamalai.

“In that movie, Mr. Rajnikanth pedals a cycle and it became very famous. So we decided to use the name to grab attention. Initially, we have decided to donate nine cycles to deserving people on the occasion of our cycling group’s ninth anniversary. But we will be doing it regularly,” said Mr. Felix John.

Divagaran Thiyagarajan, one of the founding members of WCCG, said that in the movie, the humble bicycle gives Mr. Rajnikanth happiness even though he rose from rags to riches. “We hope that the cycles we donate to deserving people help them in life,” he said.

Besides, through this project the group also intends to highlight livelihood cyclists — those who have bicycles as their only medium of transport. “We have people like security guards, iron men, plumbers, milk vendors who cycle more than 60 km daily. They have no other mode of transport and they claim this has made them healthy and saves money. So we want to highlight this and promote commuting to work by cycle,” added Mr. Felix John.

To promote cycling to work, the group has started an initiative called ‘Commute Bi Cycle’. “We have formed groups in different parts of the city and they leave for work together. It is basically a support group to remove fear among new cyclists who wish to pedal to work on stretches like Old Mahabalipuram Road, GST, 100 Feet Road, Anna Salai and Poonamallee High Road,” said Mr. Divagaran.

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