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Three cyclists hit the pedal, collect 4 lakh for migrants, cops

PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2020 11:57 PM IST

Three cyclists have raised over Rs 4 lakh for Covid-19 relief by cycling indoors for 24 to 48 hours. Each of them covered between 500 to 1,300 kilometres and collected donations from the public while live streaming their efforts.

“Since it was clear that the responsible thing to do during lockdown was to stay indoors, I realised our responsibility didn’t have to end with that. We could still do more work for society even while we stay indoors,” said 35-year-old Alibaug resident and ultra-distance cyclist Sumit Patil.

To cycle indoors, the bicycle is mounted on a turbo trainer, which helps the cyclist cycle maintain their stationary position. Most cyclists use online software that give them routes and the feeling of cycling outdoors, including excess pressure when the virtual route includes uphill roads.

On May 20, Patil set up his cycle on the roof of his house and chose to live stream himself cycling to raise funds for migrant labourers. “I found an organisation that has been providing water and energy supplements to all those taking the Mumbai-Agra route and directed all the funds I could raise,” he said. In 24 hours, Patil covered close to 644km and raised Rs 1.8 lakh. “My initiative was to encourage people to contribute Rs 100 for a kilometre I ride, and so I was expecting to raise around Rs 65,000. When I realised that I could raise more than double that amount, I was humbled to know that many people wanted to contribute, just didn’t know how,” said Patil.

Software engineer and cycling enthusiast PVR Sasikanth also raised funds for the urban poor. Based in Hyderabad, Sasikanth raised around Rs 70,000 by cycling for 24 hours. “I wanted to help people who I could see needed help, so sought help from other cycling enthusiasts who joined the live stream of my stationary cycling session,” he said. “I covered just over 500km and managed to raise around Rs 70,000 in 24 hours. Whatever I collected, I used to help the poor struggling for food and water in my neighborhood.”

Nagpur-based ultra-distance cyclist Amit Samarth turned 40 on May 5. “For my birthday, I decided to cycle for 48 hours at a stretch and raise funds for the state police force,” he said. Samarth has previously completed the Race Across America (4,940 kms) and the Trans-Siberian Extreme (9,100 kms). “I started cycling on May 2 and ended it on May 4, with minimum sleep and bathroom breaks. My family and friends kept my hydrated and kept encouraging me throughout the 48 hours,” said Samarth.

At the end of the two days, Samarth had cycled 1,301km and raised over Rs 2.2 lakh. “Since the state police is on the forefront of the Covid-19 fight, I directed Rs 1.51 lakh of the money raised to the state police while the rest was donated to three different NGOs who are running kitchens to feed people. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday,” he said.

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