What a novel idea it is to spend your Christmas Holiday with your community. You not just end up burning calories, you also meet and greet your friends in person, with whom your communication otherwise remains limited to what’s app messages or occasional calls. Celebrating festivals together is a crucial part of our human society and cycling plays a great enabler in bringing people together on a common platform. It’s a convergence of different cultures and mindsets, where we all share, laugh, gift, eat, dance and pray for our best future.
Cycling clubs in Mumbai choose to spend the festive morning of 25th December, by going for a Christmas themed cycle ride called the ‘Santa Cycle Ride’.
Dozens of cyclists, of all ages and fitness levels turned up for the Christmas cycle ride organized by The Smart Commute Foundation, the West Coast Riders Cycling Club, Young Cycling Buddies and the Buddy Riders group.
The cyclists pedalled to Juhu beach and played with the little kids from nearby vicinity. Celebrations continued with all cyclists riding to the Pushpa Narsee Park for fun, music, breakfast and party.
Gifts and Charity:
An old looking man, Santa Claus is a legendary figure. He is very popular among kids as he is known for bringing gifts to the homes of children on the night of Christmas eve or early morning hours of Christmas day. Christmas is all about giving and keeping this tradition going, more than 30 under privilege children took part in the Santa Cycle Ride in which the senior cyclists distributed gifts to each of them. Two new cycles were donated to a boy and a girl under the ‘Me Cycle Rider’ project, while 10 others received new cycle locks.
Christmas is also known as the ‘Feast day of Christ’. The cultural fest is celebrated with a positive spirit welcoming Jesus, the son of god by exchanging sweets. The cycling group shared breakfast and cake with all children. Murugan Shobana, kept the children engaged by playing Christmas songs with a speaker attached on his folding bicycle.
“Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus who stood for the oppressed and the disadvantaged. Me Cycle Rider is an attempt to live by the values of Jesus and respect the under privileged. Through our annual Santa Ride, we make sure that the kids have the best of time with us and return home with sweet memories” – said Firoza Suresh, Bicycle Mayor of Mumbai and founder of Smart Commute Foundation, an NGO which promotes cycling in the city.
Give and be blessed.
Give good wishes
Give holy chants
Give a book
Give a smile
Give a meal
Give a toy
Give a kiss
Give a miss
Give a hug
Give a cycle
Give a smile
By giving every time…you’ll receive more & more.
Many Cyclists got creative and decorated their cycles with stockings, wreaths, santa figurines, garlands, bubbles, lights, trees and bells. Some also made special efforts in dressing up like Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Christmas Elf while many others arrived in red, green and white attracting camera shutters and indulging in festive photography.
A similar Christmas themed ride was held on 14th December, in which the West Coast Cyclists organised breakfast at Worli sea face promenade and thereafter explored the five villages of Bandra – Pali, Chuim, Chimbai, Sherly Rajan and Ranwar. Bandra, is a place known for its old churches, bungalows, small cottages, and during Christmas the area makes a pretty picture for the visitors. Even a walk post sunset in Bandra during this period is quite absorbing and will leave you mesmerized with its charm.
You may also like to read EXPERIENCING BANDRA, A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON A CYCLE
Christopher Pereira, a native from Bandra and a cyclist quoted “It’s that time of the year when the air is full of love, peace and joy. In keeping with the Christmas spirit, West coast riders rode with colours of green red white, a nibble into the traditional dark plum cake and carol music in the background made it an eventful morning.
In conjunction with this Christmasy feeling…
Many cycling groups of Mumbai and ‘Me cycle rider’ an initiative that conducts cycling rides and donates cycles to the underprivileged children of our city came together. We rode on Christmas day to spread happiness among the less fortunate. The smile and the cheer on these children’s faces was enough to highlight the true meaning of Christmas and what better way, than doing it with a pair of wheels”.
I remember in my childhood, my elder sisters played secret Santa, keeping gifts in my Christmas stockings. Gradually, I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was about 10. I think I misjudged, and realized it later that Christmas is not so much about opening presents, as opening our hearts. This ride is to appreciate and reinstate my faith in Jolly good fellow.
My message for everyone is “Let the child in us stay alive and may Santa Claus continue to cheer us in our imaginations… forever ringing the bell of happiness and joy. Through cycling, may we continue to encourage empathy, kindness and generosity”.
This is my last blog publication for the year 2019, and also happens to be the 101st blog by pedalandtringtring.com
I will put my best efforts to bring forth more interesting content related to cycling and travel in the coming year.
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WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Photo credits: Me Cycle Rider, West Coast Rider, Buddy Riders, Young Cycling Buddies.
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai