I am Ragunath Veeravel, Marine Engineer by profession, Cyclist by Passion and Environmentalist by Destiny. During 2015, I took up cycling having in my mind to reduce carbon emissions, later it took me to various beautiful destinations. Later, I got many of my friends to enjoy the pleasure of cycling. Considering UN SDG #13, I started planting to enrich the environment. Currently, I am a core member of Pondy Pedalers cycling group and Founder of an afforestation organization.
How would you describe your mission?
My vision is to see my city live healthy & prosperously. My mission is to create awareness about cycling and its benefits from health & environment perspectives. I also want all school, college students and employees from various private & government sectors to adopt cycling for daily commute. I want to make my city into India’s most cycling friendly city.
What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?
✓ TRAFFIC, we need to bring the change in mindset among drivers to develop respect towards bicycle riders
✓ INFRASTRUCTURE, I will ask government and authorities to develop them with safety and good infrastructure for cycling to ensure the safety of bicycle riders
✓ SOCIAL STIGMA, when society sees women riders they starts criticising them. This has to be eradicated and healthy society has to be built where everyone feels included and respect each other
What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
✓ As Bicycle Mayor, I would like to conduct community cycling rallies where I expect effective participation from the people of the community
✓ Setting/starting up cycling clubs in schools and colleges
What can other cities learn from your city?
✓ Tourism, where every single tourist feels safe in every part of the town. Our government ensures their safety.
✓ People who are ready for adopting good change.