First time in Kerala a group of deaf men from Thrissur, Kerala hosted a cycling event from Thrissur to Chalakudy covering a distance of 35 KM.
First time in Kerala a group of deaf men from Thrissur, Kerala hosted a cycling event from Thrissur to Chalakudy covering a distance of 35 KM. It is wonderful and interesting that the deaf group cycled to their destination.
The idea of deaf group cycling first came to Henry Sunny after watching the videos on Whatsapp where a deaf person cycled for 30 KMs and another one cycled for 65 Kms. He sent congratulatory messages to both and enquired with them if they cycled in a group or alone. The deaf men told him that they went alone but wished they had a group. This made Henry think of calling other cyclists as he wanted to host the first cycling event for the deaf from Thrissur. He chose cycling as it is an exercise that helps reduce a lot of illnesses, gives confidence and positivity. It is also a way of spreading awareness about the benefits of cycling among the deaf community and helps to spread awareness about deaf people to the hearing community.
Henry wasn't alone in his endeavour. He had 4 other deaf, Joel Joy, Vipin Varghese, Joemon P. J and Muhammad Rafi with whom he planned the event . As they required police permission to cycle from Thrissur to Chalakudy, Henry explained the content of the letter to his wife, Aleena who then wrote the application which they submitted to the Thrissur police station. The officer read the application and found it to be an interesting idea. However, he asked, how would the group hear the honking sounds coming from behind? Henry replied that all of them are fit and are very observant so there shouldn't be a problem and that they would be extremely careful and follow all the rules while cycling on the roads. The officer gave them the permission but asked them to wear cycling helmets as they are very important for protection from injuries. The officer also asked them to follow the coronavirus pandemic norms of hand sanitization, wearing a mask and social distancing. The 5 five deaf including Henry designed and circulated a poster giving details of the cycling event. They were shocked when they received 44 applications from deaf people interested in participating. As for 5 of them to handle 44 cyclists was difficult, they thought of getting 4 more volunteers.
While discussing the budget Henry thought of his former school St. Clare Oral School's deaf sports teacher, Mr. Anil Anikuttan. Henry spoke to the teacher who agreed as this was the first time such an event was planned and he even asked others to support. Madhu A S is the President of Ernakulam District Sports Council of the Deaf (EDSD), Joint Secretary of Kerala Sports Council of the Deaf (KSCD) and is also Executive Member of Tripunithura Cycle Club too extended his support. Mr. G. Sunilkumar, deaf sponsored T-Shirts for the deaf cycling group. Bony Davis who owns a business of sports equipment saw that the cycling event for the deaf was being held for the first time and he was happy to support it as it was a sporting event like his business. When another deaf person, Krishnanunni ES who has a business of supplying water bottles, saw the event happening at Thrissur, he sponsored water bottles for the cyclists. Apart from them, there are 22 more people who supported. The deaf group thanked all of them.
Since the cycling event was to start from Thrissur, the President of Thrissur Deaf Association, Mr. Subramanian C.K was invited as a guest. The group was supposed to have 25 cyclists, however, only 17 participated as few of them couldn't make it due to exams or other personal reasons. The plan was set and the group gathered on 31st January 2021 at 5 am. The cycles were lined up and it was flagged off at about 6 am and they reached Chalakudy at about 8 am by cycling for 35 KMs. On reaching Chalakudy they had some games and competitions planned for an hour and Joel Joy informed the group about the history of cycling.
After the competitions, the 17 deaf cyclists were given their certificates, food packets and water bottles without any charges. The Association of Chalakudy too supported the cyclists. The group extends their gratitude to the association. The full group cycled for 35 Kms, however, they had some more special people amongst them like 19 year old Anu Joseph who travelled for a total of 193 KM. On 30th January, Anu Joseph cycled from his home to Thrissur and then on 31st along with the group cycled to Chalakudy and then back to Thrissur and to his home which was 193 KM in total. He did not collapse while cycling a long distance as he has been cycling since his childhood. Another 18 year old Ansar Haris, cycled from his home to Thrissur to Chalakudy and back which totalled 270 KMs. He too has been cycling since childhood and hence faced no difficulties. Shinan P. S is a very well known person who travelled all over India from Kerala on his bike too was a part of the group that cycled from Thrissur to Chalakudy. The event was successful because of the hard work of Henry and his team, volunteers and the sponsors
Like the first event at Thrissur, they will have another event in the future for which they also want women cyclists to join them.