With an aim to promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation, MS Athirup from Kerala has established a bicycle-sharing club and collaborated with Chennai Metro Rail Limited
“My love for cycling goes way back to childhood days. Interestingly, over the years it has only increased to a point that I have decided to spend the rest of my life to promote it as much as I can. Known over generations for its utility, bicycles are making a powerful comeback worldwide. I wanted to promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation by establishing a cross-city bicycling club,” he says.
It was the director of Kochi Metro who introduced Athirup to the CMRL team. “Cycling not only makes the commute easier but can also reduce vehicular emissions. We have installed 10 cycles each at Nehru Park, Shenoy Nagar and Vadapalani Metro stations in the city. The service is free of cost because I wanted to encourage people to take up cycling not just as a fitness activity but also as a mode of transportation. This can definitely bring a long-term impact on the environment,” points out the entrepreneur.
The working model of ABC is simple — if a person wants to borrow a cycle, they need to send their station code via SMS to a number mentioned on their website. Once the verification process is completed, a number will be sent as a message to the user to unlock the cycle. “We also have a few terms and conditions like how to use the cycle and how to drop it securely. They can take a bike from one of the racks and drop it at any other rack in the same city within 24 hours. The membership is free and each member gets 100 hours of usage every month. There are around 8,000 users in all the three cities,” Athirup explains.
The 40-year-old who made it as a business venture says that he didn’t start the club to make profits. “Since our services are free, we don’t get any money from the users. We manage our finances with the help of sponsors,” he sums up.