DHARAN, Jan 2: A young group keen on getting the youth and everyone else involved in cycling, Riders & MTB Zone in Dharan has been active since April of 2012 and is still going strong with over 65 members in just over eight months time. Keeping the city free from pollution, making people healthier, keeping traffic to the minimum and turning Dharan into a ‘Cycle City’ are just some of the goals of the club.
Farendra Limbu, 33, Proprietor and Treasurer; Sameer Shakya, 30, Advisor; Bivek Shrestha, 30, Secretary and Sagar Adhikari, 30, Member, along with a bunch of other youths from Dharan first met at the Budha Subba Cleaning Campaign and their ‘chiya guff’ turned into a reality with the formation of Riders & MTB Zone.
“We all loved cycling and we always cycled around but people thought we were trying to be westerners and poked fun. But we liked it so much that we didn’t deter ourselves from cycling and then came the club,” shares Sameer. All the lads are from different backgrounds with a common love for cycling.
Famous as the fashion capital of Nepal, Dharan’s youths may be known for their substance abuse problems but times have changed and the once lazy town’s youth are catching up with the capital, Kathmandu, and aggressively putting forward their effort to turn the town’s image upside down for the better.
Farendra worked in Dubai for a few years before he invested and founded the club while Sameer has a degree in Agriculture Engineering from IOE in Dharan and also worked for an INGO for almost five years. Similarly, Bivek has been running a bike workshop for over two years while Sagar holds a degree in English and teaches the same in schools around town.
A few months back, the club also introduced 18 cycling routes around Dharan Recalling the moment when they were scouting for the locations, Farendra shares, “We all started from Bhanu Chowk and then went about the outskirts and found these trails. One could have a lot of fun with friends on these trails. We also organize programs to go there for a minimum price.”
The enthusiastic group shares that they get a lot of queries from young ones all around town and that it inspires them to do so much more. “In just a matter of eight months, we already have 65 members and we successfully held the Riders & MTB Zone Challenge 2012 where 25 participants participated in the cross country race and it was amazing to see their excitement,” shares Sagar, who always finds time to cycle even though he is a full time English language teacher.
However, the passion to cycle does not pay the bills and financing their projects and keeping up with the rocketing price of the commodities is not an easy task. Working side by side, to keep the club alive and kicking, they hold fund raising events as well as competitions. “The money that is saved as profit goes into the club and that’s how it’s functioning at the moment,” says Bivek, adding, with a smirk, “But we are at least doing something and not just lazing around like people think we do here in Dharan.”
The quiet town, around one hour’s drive from the Biratnagar airport, Dharan does not really have much traffic but having a cycle lane, may be an option in the busy roads. “The only streets that are busy are Bhanu Chowk and the streets connected to it. I don’t think we really need a cycle lane but it would be good if we got one in the busy streets,” opines Sameer.
The dream to turn Dharan into a Cycle City by 2015 and having 100 plus members within a year’s time does not seem farfetched for the club looking at the energy and ‘let’s do it’ attitude that they all carry.
Cycling around a clean town would be ideal, wouldn’t it?