THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While vehicles choke the city streets, a bicycle bearing a green flag carrying the logo ‘Go Green Save Earth’ emblazoned on it vrooms its way through the busy traffic with much ease.
Sanju Soman, an 18-year-old BA Psychology student at SN College, Chempazhanthy, is behind the ‘drive’ and has been continuing his journey for the past six months. He takes a 26-kilometre to-and-fro cycle ride every day from the LMS Hostel in the city, where he resides, to the college on his ‘Hero Octane Altering Bike’. Sanju, who calls himself ‘’different from others’’, explains why he set out on an out-of-the ordinary ride. “It was the system in China that inspired me initially. There, in colleges, students use bicycles for their journeys. I am absolutely self-motivated. As my bike consumes no petrol, there will not be carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere.”
On the busy Ulloor-Sreekariyam stretch, he rides his bicycle along the left side of the road and breaks all traffic snarls by taking the footpath when there are not many pedestrians on them. As the only son of his parents, his mother feared whether the boy would get tired after the long journeys. Still, his father gave the green signal.
When he started the ride, Sanju received more brickbats than bouquets; “people poked fun at me and even called me mad,” he says. Still, he did not give up and after some time, the ride evoked curiosity among some friends of his and they too expressed their desire to cycle. “Though many love to ride, they ask me whether I don’t get tired. Of course, I do. I tell them to keep a towel with them so as to wipe off the sweat and refresh themselves after the ride.”
Sanju refrains from the cycle ride on rainy days and when he has to appear for examinations. During those days, he seeks the help of the transport bus to travel. After returning from college, he takes a jaunt through the major thoroughfare in the city in his cycle. Sanju also wishes to extend his service to the society. He is an active member of ‘Yes Plus’, a wing of the Art of Living group. Asked whether any weight-loss happened after starting the cycle expedition, he smiles and says “only five kilograms in six months, as my love for yummy food is insatiable.” The big dream Sanju has is to take out an expedition from the city to Kochi, which he wishes to realise in the near future.