Around 40 bikers gathered in front of The Bike Store, Palarivattom, Kochi, Thursday morning, all dressed in helmets and jersey. After a brief talk on gender equality at workplaces, they started off on their bicycles, for a 10-kilometer ride with a strong message regarding gender equality. They were the proud members of 'Cochin Bikers Club (CBC),' a bicyclists' collective based at Palarivattom.
The riders constituted of the members of two major cycling communities of Kochi, CBC Pink (a wing comprising 20 women cyclists from the CBC) and 'Bourne Riders,' a cyclists' group that rides for causes. The one-hour-long audax ended at Queen's Way, Kochi, by 8 am, where the cyclists addressed a crowd and talked about the necessity of ensuring gender equality in workplaces.
Commenting on their initiative, Rittu Jacob, leader of Bourne Riders, told Onmanorama that according to their surveys, it would take at least 215 years to establish complete gender equality in all kinds of workplaces in our society. “Our ride was envisaged as to spread the message of equality and pride. A woman cyclist led the group-ride which involved both men and women. We do not believe in segregation and exclusiveness when it comes to gender issues. The struggles for gender rights need to be participated by people from all gender and sexual identities,” Rittu said.
Sumangala Pai, the leader of CBC Pink, said that cycling was a liberating sport which was eco-friendly and healthy as well. “Along with the virtues of gender equality and justice, a group bicycle-ride also propagates a message of healthy and nature friendly transportation. Cycling is a healthy lifestyle as well as a participatory sport,” she said.
Priyadarshini Pawar, a freelance artist hailing from Satara, Maharashtra, has completed a 300-kilometer brevet on her bicycle at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, in just 20 hours. The biker who is preparing for a 600-kilometer ride at present, took part in Kochi's Ride for Progress. Priyadarshini addressed the gathering at Queen's Way and talked about the benefits of cycling and the necessity of ensuring equal rights for women in all spheres of society.