New Delhi– With a direct relation between cycling and conserving transport fuel, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is organising the capital’s first Saksham Pedal Delhi “cyclothon” event on Sunday, which will include the National Cycling Championships as a component feature.

The event on November 5, slated to start from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here, will see more than 5,000 participants, according to PCRA Executive Director Alok Tripathi.

“November is a time when the Delhi’s notorious pollution begins to get more acute with the onset of cooler weather,” Tripathi told IANS here.

“So, keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exhortation to avoid transport fuels on one day of the week, we decided to organise such a mass cycling event here for the first time,” he said.

“We keep hearing of walkathons and marathons, but not such events for cycling. Thus it ties in well with, as well as highlights, the objectives of PCRA, which is a registered society under the Petroleum Ministry,” he added.

The event is organised around four categories – Elite Cycling (50km/30km), Amateur Ride (30 km), Open Ride (10 km) and Green Ride (5 km), while participants can enrol for various categories via online registration.

With a principal objective of spreading public awareness on fuel conservation, the PCRA Executive Director said the transformations in Indian society had made it all the more urgent to bring about a change of mindset on fuel use.

“In our country we have a stigma against cycling as being the means of conveyance for the poor,” he said.

“This kind of advocacy is, however, a necessary but not sufficient condition to promote fuel conservation across various sections and propagate the message of reducing excessive dependency on oil,” he added.

India’s 150 elite cyclists will be seen in action at the National Cycling Championships on Sunday hosted by Saksham Pedal Delhi and supported by the Cycling Federation of India
The event has a prize money of Rs 8 lakh.

All state-run oil and gas firms – Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, ONGC, GAIL, Oil India, MRPL, CPCL, NRL and Indraprastha Gas Ltd – are also supporting the initiative.

The event will be inaugurated by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Mumbai-based film actor and cycling enthusiast Farhan Akhtar is the brand ambassador of Saksham Pedal Delhi. (IANS)