Mangaluru: It has been a month since disaster struck the Kodagu district and the South Indian state of Kerala. The deluge destroyed homes and lives indiscriminately, leading many to question how something like this could have happened. While people of different sides have been pointing fingers at different possibilities, a majority are of the opinion that the disaster was the result of mankind's impact on the planet by way of deforestation and mining.
Floods and landslides have been experienced in other parts of the country as well, and a trio of like-minded men from the Mangalore Bulls Motorcycle Club, have taken it upon themselves to spread the message that afforestation is the answer to avert such disasters from happening again. Combining their passion for riding motorcycles and their desire to spread awareness, three men from the Kasargod district, Sudheer Kumar (electrical contractor), Shan Kallangadi (entrepreneur) and Saheer Kumble (software engineer-turned-entrepreneur), have volunteered to embark on an adventurous 30-day, 3-nation ride, atop their Royal Enfield Himalayans to spread the message- Plant Trees and Prevent Floods.”
The ambitious ride spanning 12,000 km, is being conducted with the support of JCI, IMSC, Al-Masafi, Just Bake, PE Services, KL 14 Motorcycle Club and AMARON and was flagged off in Kasargod on Wednesday, October 10 at 5 PM. The trio will be riding along the western side of the country, moving into Nepal and Bhutan, and will re-enter India and continue their journey back to Kasargod via the eastern side of the country. In all, they will be covering 14 Indian states and other major cities in Nepal and Bhutan.
The trio's first stop was here in Mangaluru city, where they met with the police commissioner and handed him a sapling to be planted at his office. The commissioner then flagged off the next leg of their ride on Thursday, October 11 at 11 AM. They are now on their way to Goa and plan to reach the Gateway of India in Mumbai by 4 PM on October 12, where they will be making a presentation along with the Mumbai biker groups and the JCI (Junior Chamber International). On their way to Goa, the trio stopped at Kumta to make a presentation about the importance of trees and their role in preventing floods and landslides. They even handed out wristbands bearing their message to the locals.
Speaking to NewsKarnataka, Saheer said, "We are planning to hold a presentation in at least one place every day. On an average, we are going to cover 400 km every day and we will be choosing one place and giving a presentation there. Today we had a presentation in Mangaluru and Kumta. So we are unable to make a presentation in Goa as we need to reach Mumbai by at least 4 PM."
Asked if they were going to give saplings at every stop as they did in Mangaluru, Saheer said, "That was what we had initially planned to do, but we found out that in the north, this is not the ideal time to plant saplings. If we do that, the plant will not survive and it will be a waste of our efforts. So, we decided that as we go further north, we will only spread awareness."
He also said that they planned to visit the flood-hit areas in Kerala and Kodagu and plant saplings in those areas.
The idea for the ride came up during one of the Mangalore Bulls Motorcycle Club's community outreach programmes (COP). "Two months back we had a COP in Kundapura, where this thought came up. We were part of the relief work and we saw how tough the situation was over there. We wanted to do something. Every year we have similar rides. In 2016, we rode with the message 'Peace is Possible' and it was organised by the JCI," Saheer explained.
The three musketeers dressed themselves up and modified their bikes in such a way that their message will not be missed, even if they are just riding by. "Our message gets spread wherever we go because we are wearing T-shirts with the message, our bikes are carrying the message and we also have placards with the message. Even if we stop at a restaurant to eat, our message is spread. Even when we are riding, the people behind and in front of us can read our message. Our message is spread even if we just pass by, but in certain places, we will stop and do some activities," he added.
When asked what he gets from doing this kind of social work, Saheer said, "I am into social work and charity work. I have been part of Make a Difference and U&I, which are NGOs aimed at children's education." He also added that their ride was not being sponsored by anyone and that the three of them are paying for everything from their own pockets. "No one is sponsoring us. The other bikers and organisations are only supporting us in our mission," he said.
Speaking to NewsKarnataka, Mangalore Bulls Motorcycle Club President, Ashwith said, "We have a practice of doing 'cause rides' since we started going on group rides in 2014. Once in three months, we go to orphanages or old age homes, basically to those who are in need of help in the form of money. We usually collect money within the group and have these kinds of community outreach programmes. We usually have a long distance ride every year. So this year we decided to take up the Kerala and Kodagu floods cause. With their ride, Sudheer, Shan and Saheer want to spread the message of growing more trees."
You can follow the trio on its journey on Instagram:
About Mangalore Bulls Motorcycle Club
The club was started in 2014 and currently has 65 registered members from in and around Mangaluru city. They are a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who ride as a passion and try to explore places.
© Copyright NewsKarnataka 2016 . All Rights Reserved.