Thursday, January 01, 2009

Day 7: Celebration Rally

By 4:00 PM all riders had reached Jnana Bharati. The environment below fig tree had turned euphoric. A small party had started automatically. Drinks on the house - Tropicana, Gatorade or plain Aquafina. Some preferred Ganne-ka-juice. Starters included all chats - Masalapuri, Bhel and others. The joy and celebration attracted strange looks from curious on-lookers. It was a moment to remember for all riders and organizers alike. They wanted to immortalize the moment and posed for photos all around.

Standing:George, Datta Patil, Dickie, Naveen, Dipankar, Abhin, Francis, Sharath
Sitting :Ethesh, Dinesh, Iggy, Sriram

The above is a photograph that will be remembered for a long time. It is a School Annual Photo of Dickie School of cycling. No guess who is the head-master. But this is one head master we all love.

Night Riders: Kaushik, Kamesh, Deeksha, Francis, Babu.
Then there is another group that navigated the Mysore traffic in the dark behind a support car. They enjoyed it so much that they now want to ride only after sun down. They call themselves "The Night Riders".

Mysore Road Flyover traffic stopped for TFN

Quarter of an hour later, the police escort arrived. They made quick checks on their walkie-talkie and signaled a "all-green" for us. That meant, the cyclists would be given VIP treatment all the way from Jnana Bharathi to Cubbon Park. All intersections would be closed so that we could get through traffic. The entire group of cyclists followed two support cars behind the police escort. Any comparison to 150 cyclists riding down the Champs-Elysees was only natural. It would be just like comapring a tender sapling that grows into a huge tree. TFN has all the making of a great event in cycling calendar.

Mysore Road Flyover traffic stopped for TFN
People started posing again for memorabilia photos. The two pillars of TFN - Raviranjan & Rajesh Nair. These are the folks who started the idea of touring South Indian mountains during Christmas. That snowballed into TFN with able help from Abhi, Pradeep, Deepak, Sathish, Sharath, Modi, Nilesh, Amit, Shrikanth, Sridhar, Arun... and the list continues... Thanks a lot guys.

Once we reached Cubbon park we rode past Vidhana Soudha - the most attractive landmark in Bangalore. It was a spectacle worth watching. 50 cyclists riding past. All the other traffic stopped by themselves watching us. We reached Cubbon park again to interact with the press that had been waiting. Tv-9, Suvarna, E-TV, Udaya - all the news channels were there. Lot of riders, organizers talked to the media. Waiting to see how much coverage we will get in the next few days. I will post here as I find it.

Bike Salute: Ethesh, Naveen, Kamesh, Francis

Sukhdev & Rajesh Lifted by other riders

Again at the Cubbon park, the celebration continued. Hi-fives, three cheers, bike salutes - you name it, they did it. Words can not describe the electricity in the air. I will not even try. If you are feeling left out, then let me remind you that registrations are already open for TFN09. Dattatreya Patil announcing award to Sukhdev
Dattatreya Patil, the grape-farmer from Sanghli had a surprise announcement to make. Every year his cycling club at Sanghli will identify an exceptional cycling talent between the ages of 11-15 and confer a "young achiever" award named after Swami Vivekananda. Previous recipients of this award have gone ahead and represented their states and country in cycling events. This year he announced that this award would be given to our own Sukhdev.

The message is clear : If 50 riders with no prior experience in endurance sports can do 919 Kms, any one can do a 10Km commute on a bicycle. Bangalore!! Get back on the saddle - for a green future.