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  • Writer's pictureThothathri Raman

How about donating a cycle?

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

At height of the unprecedented migrant labour exodus from big cities in the wake of the Corona virus lock-down earlier in the year 2020 towards their home town hundreds of kilometres away from their workplace, the ubiquitous cycles were part of the migration process. Hundreds of workers especially the youth opted to take the rigorous ride home cycling hundreds of kilometres under extreme conditions of lock-down, police crackdown, lack of water and food and scorching heat of the tropical India. Jyoti Kumari a 15 year old girl from Delhi created quite a flutter by ferrying her unhealthy father 1200 km to her Bihar home.

Heroic cycling journeys were attempted by people buying up second hand cycles, borrowing in some cases and at least one celebrated case stealing a parked cycle only to return the same once the person reached back home using a friendly lorry driver returning to city. Most of these cycles were dangerously old, rickety and ironically made to care huge loads and even pillion riders. That the cycles withstood the rigour and rough terrains and reached the people safety to their home, should speak volumes about the sturdiness and durability of the locally made cycles, a story that needs to be retold hundreds of times and perhaps a good subject for an e-book in websites like

Having said that, it should also be acknowledged that there were sporadic attempts by charity organisations to aggregate or even acquire new cycles to give to the migrants returning home. The strange irony however, there were hardly any attempt by people voluntarily donating their cycles rotting in the basement parking lots, gathering dust and rust. Somehow the mindset of giving away an used cycle has not permeated yet in the minds of middle class each of whom should be having a cycle or two surplus lying around after their children have graduated and left their homes to pursue their careers. The usual excuse is "oh! there is a lot of memories associated with the cycle and we just cant give away the cycles just like that"

We want to make an attempt at creating awareness about donating the cycles among dozens of household help who commute to the buildings on foot each day in all the metropolitan cities of the country. We would be happy to carry the stories and photos of such donations in the website. Please mail us with the details paraphrasing #Idonatedcycle so that we could publicly acknowledge your generosity.

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