The Optimist Citizen

An IITian’s bicycle ride of over 7000kms, encompassing five states to spread awareness about Solar Power

While the world has started giving sustainable, renewable energy its long due importance and the support for a greener world has been rampant, the awareness for an average John Doe in our nation on the issue is still on the thin end of the fabric. Sushil Reddy, a graduate from IIT Mumbai who has been long working on renewable energy, felt a similar gap and felt that a strong medium must be used to embed the message of renewable energy in the minds of the men and women of our nation. And to drive his point home, Sushil undertook a journey called the Sun Pedal Ride across the face of our country on a solar powered bicycle.

7000 kms ride on a Solar powered bicycle
Sushil on his Sun Pedal Ride

The decision of using the simple symbol of cycle to spread his message was well thought out. What better way to spread awareness about renewable energy than a sustainable mode of transport?

While the technology for a solar powered bicycle has been there for quite some time now, the problem that troubled Sushil the most, was undertaking such a long journey. The journey encompassed five different states covering a distance of more than 7000 kilometres. To make the most out of this long journey, various NGOs, schools and institutions were contacted. Seminars were organized at these places along the journey. Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Porbander, Somnath, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Mt. Abu, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Bhatinda, Chandigarh, and Roorkee were a few of the cities, the Sun Pedal Ride went through. “The ride was made possible by the whole team”, says Sushil. The team coordinated with numerous bodies and organizations, discussed and finalized various susceptible route patterns and helped in spreading the word around about the journey and its cause.

Sushil initial motivation came from his experience of working in Kwatt Solutions, a startup founded by Prof. Chetan Solanki at IIT Mumbai. Rajendra Bhaskar another student from the institute accompanied him in this journey. After developing the initial idea in March, they started looking for sponsors. While Inter Global was the title sponsor, Zoom car provided them with the support vehicle.

The Sun Pedal Ride saw Sushil interacting with students, villagers, and experts. School students got interested when they realized that a solar powered vehicle that almost halves the effort of the rider actually works. People in cars pulled over and stopped to ask about his initiative. Most of them were interested in knowing about the practical applications of solar energy in their homes and lifestyle.

Sushil with his Solar powered bicycle

Sushil is overwhelmed by the wave of emotions, realizations and awareness that the journey has aroused. “As per the government targets of installed solar power capacity by 2022, renewable energy not only sows the seed for a greener nation, but also a haven where lakhs can acquire employment in the sector. Thus it is necessary that the civil society also be made aware of these plans”, says Sushil.

And indeed, Solar Power along with the full corpus of renewable energy can change the face of the world, only if large scale technological shifts are complimented by innumerable citizen action projects like that of the Sun Pedal Ride. It is when every child and adult understands that it us who have to pedal our future, that a renewable future for our mother Earth is possible.


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