On September 18-19, the Chennai Trekking Club in cooperation with Rotary International organized a 2-day awareness bike rally with 110 bikes and 250 volunteers covering a distance of 700+km. Purpose of this “Blood Gears” “Ride for Live” mega bike rally was to create awareness for the upcoming Statewide Blood Donation Drive “Be Positive” on September 23 presided by chief guest Thiru M.K. Stalin, deputy CM of Tamilnadu. The Chennai Mayor Thiru M. Subramaniam flagged off the bike rally on Marina beach on Saturday morning after which the 110 bikers, 110 pillions and 30 supporting volunteers drove to Chengalpattu, Cheyyar, Polur, Thirupathur, Yellagiri, Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Vellore, Kancheepuram and back to Chennai. All bikers and pillions were wearing red colored event t-shirts, flags, banners and distributed pamphlets to create awareness along the road and villages they passed through. The bikers halted at various regional Rotary clubs to give awareness speeches within the local communities for the upcoming statewide blood donation drive.
Rotary had provided food, refreshments and campaigns at regular stops and hosted our bikers in a nice stay in the beautiful Yelagiri Hills. Some of the volunteers got up early morning on Sunday for a small mini-trek to a mountain with awesome views on the valley below. The climate was gentle on Saturday and changed to a more hot and sunny challenge on Sunday. My sincere admiration to Ram (the main event organizer), our 20 biking leads and many other active CTC volunteers which made the bike rally a great success.
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The Chennai Mayor flagging off the rally at Marina beach on Saturday morning
Write-up by Hari –
“Chennai Trekking Club’s Blood gears get people to BE Positive”
Saturday usually signals a lazy day for everyone after the hectic weekdays. It is a day when we relax and plan for an outing in the evening and enjoyment for Sunday. But as has always been with the Chennai trekking Club (CTC), our typical weekday is spent lazing around expecting for the coming weekend when we do our real work. This weekend, we decided to spend it differently. We decided to merge all the three wings of CTC into one – trekking, biking and the social cause. Once Rotary came up with the awareness rally for their mass Blood Donation drive on 23rd September, we knew that this was the best way to merge all the three and after the recent success of Save Tada 2, this was also going to be a big hit. It turned out to be a massive hit.
The sleepless hours the organizers spent both from the rotary side and CTC side paved way for around 110 bikes, 5 cars and over 250 volunteers assembling at the Marina on Saturday morning. Our very enthusiastic Mayor Thiru Subramaniam flagged off the rally from near the Lighthouse and the bike rally started its way slowly getting to know fellow bikers and a feel of the road till Tambaram. Once we crossed Tambaram, it was the turn of the Bikers to set the road on fire. Everyone along the roads, whether the other cars and bikers or the passerby were thrilled to see around 250 people all in red holding flags on their bikes blazing through. The Rally headed through the GST road to Chengalpet. We stopped at Chengalpet for the breakfast and refreshments and headed to Mamandur. There the local rotary club provided us with yummy Butter milk and biscuits for refreshment. After this small halt, we proceeded through Uthiramerur, Kodungalur , Vandavasi and Mazhaiyur, to Cheyyar for Lunch.
Group photo at Marina beach
Enroute we stopped at various locations where we raised awareness regarding blood donation and wherever we went we were honoured royally by the local Rotarians. Infact we even had a school give us a procession with their band. We felt like VIPs and this further gave us enthusiasm on our mission. This was further bolstered by the splendid lunch consisting of Biryani, Curd rice and sweets and at Cheyyar. We then proceeded to Polur and this bit of riding was the most amazing sight I’ve seen in my entire life. We had all the bikes going on the highway together and it almost painted the highway red. It was like a drone of red locusts had taken over the highway and the sound of the bikes could be heard more than 1 kilometer away. We reached Polur via Arani within about half an hour and stopped for tea and snacks. We have to praise the Rotarians for this hospitality. Though we were in no mood to eat after this great ride and recent sumptuous meal, we couldn’t resist that vada and everyone loaded themselves up with it and we proceeded towards Thirupathur. Enroute, we had a small issue with a bike skidding off. Luckily there were just some minor bruises to driver and the pillion was unaffected. We have to thank one of the sponsors Billorth hospitals for providing an ambulance that accompanied us all the way from Chennai. For safety reasons, we rested that rider in the ambulance and proceeded further.
CTC’s blood gears riding across state highways and turning heads wherever they passed by
We stopped at various locations to raise awareness and give phamplets to the people. Infact when we halted at places for a breather or some stretching, we had people asking us about what we were doing and what was expected of them and when the donation camp is happening and all. We also got to interact with them about their day to day activities and how they enjoy their life in oneness with nature. We reached Thirupattur via Chengam with occasional halts. With a small regrouping at Thirupathur, we started our journey to Yelagiri via Jolarpet.
What a journey it was uphills. With every hairpin given names, it felt like the hills had life in them. It was a small ride and we stopped here and there to feel the cool mountain breeze and some photo shoots and reached the top of the hills within half an hour. The Rotarians were there expecting us and guided us to the Rhytm Resorts. Upon arrival there, we were treated to the best dinner ever possible after a long ride and we ate to our hearts content. There was a campfire in place and while the others enjoyed it, the ever responsible organizers in CTC started allotting rooms to the people. They were so duty conscious that only after everyone was accommodated in rooms, did they settle down to have their dinner. Another exemplary example of the CTC’s organizing at its best. We slowly retired to our rooms and were looking forward to the next day ahead.
As usual, great fun in any CTC trip surrounded by like minded, adventurous souls
Many of us woke up early and started on the trek with Peter to a nearby hill and boy-o-boy, the view from there of the valley was thrilling and divine. The early morning suns rays beating on the lush green hill and slowly enlightening the towns below was divinity before our eyes. Most of them who missed the trek since they couldn’t wake up early spent time having a walk along the lake and taking photo shoots at the watch tower above. In the mean time the rotary people were busy with their morning event at the resort. At around 8:45 sharp as mentioned by them the previous night they started the event where the main organizers were honored and the sponsors Billroth Hospitals gave a health card to every single biker and pillion, something I never imagined. Once it was done we checked out of the rooms and started on our way back down the hills. First stop was Vaniyambadi where a delicious breakfast awaited us.
The team switched to blue t-shirts on Sunday riding back home to Chennai along NH4
We reached Vaniambadi in an hour’s time and were treated to the most delicious Idly and poori that we can ever have. We have heard that Vaniambadi is famous for biryani, now looks like we have to add poori and idly also to the list. Then we had a small photoshoot with the female bikers on the Enfield’s and later proceeded to Ambur and Gudiyatam. We did some serious campaigning there and proceeded to Vellore. That was a neat stretch of highway and the bikers posed an awesome sight all in their blue colored shirts. We reached Vellore around 2 and went to the Rotary Club’s building there for lunch. The lunch consisting of biryani, bisibela bath kesari and payasam was so sumptuous that many of us ate it more than once. Then there was a small press conference with Peter and the Rotarians talking and after that we proceeded to Kanchipuram to the collectorate. The best thing about this journey was that all the bikes travelled in unison and together all the way to Kanchipuram. As soo as we reached Kanchipuram, the Rotarians greeted us with hot vada and coffee/tea. Then we proceeded to the collectorate where we had another press conference and disbursed to Chennai The bike trip/rally was truly over and we no longer travelled together on bikes, but the memories of the bikes together still lingered with us all the way to our dreams at night.
The bike rally approaching the Yelagiri hills on Saturday evening…
And not only the boys where having all the fun….
I still cherish the moments I spent in this. It was an event for a noble cause which needed support and we gave all we can. Events such as the bikes zooming, the Rotarians honoring us in every locality like VIP’s , the friendly chatter among the bikers and pillions while we drove and at night and various other events will linger on with me for the rest of my life. A thousand thanks to the Rotary club for organizing such an event and also to the sponsors Billroth Hospitals, Marutham Group and Indian Overseas bank and media partners Deccan Chronicle Zee Tamizh and Big 92.7 FM and last but not the least my very own CTC for giving me this once in lifetime opportunity.
The team taking each and every location by storm….