Published: 26th May 2021
These Hyderabadi cyclists get over 300 calls from COVID patients needing essentials delivered, every single day
This time for Daily Positivity, we tell you about these cyclists. Relief Riders is their name, delivering essentials to the elderly and COVID-positive patients is their job which they take seriously
You can cycle for fitness or just because you like to, but when you cycle for others, the contentment you derive out of that experience is unparalleled. Currently, there are about 150 young and vibrant cyclists in Hyderabad who are feeling the love after signing up for the Relief Riders initiative. This is an initiative that united several ardent cyclists from across the City of Nizams and they are stepping on the pedal to do what needs to be done during this lockdown.
It was the Bicycle Mayor of Hyderabad, Santhana Selvan, that called out to all cyclists with a passion for service who are willing to enlist for this duty. The request was sent out on April 13, 2021 to several cyclists clubs of Hyderabad like Hyderabad Cyclists Group, Hyderabad Cyclists Group, Hyderabad Runners and many others. Within one week, they had 150 individuals ready to pledge their hearts to the cause and they kicked off their services on April 30. The idea was simple — circulate their number, note down requests for medications and essential deliveries they get, float it on their internal WhatsApp group and the cyclists closest to the location can decide if they are up for it.
For the sake of operational convenience, the city is divided into three zones, namely, Old City, Secunderabad and Cyberabad. While a few members attend calls diligently, others maintain the backend while the rest are on the field. Selvan, who was on the field for a few days and now has taken the responsibility of answering calls, says that, "Every day we get over 300 calls. They speak nervously and ask for help politely. Sometimes it's the children of elderly parents who are in Hyderabad while the former are abroad, then there are the elderly with no one for support and there are those living alone."
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The 40-year-old tells us that the safety of their volunteers comes second to none. They have elaborate precautions that have been listed out for them, including using online payment. Also, ensuring whatever they purchase and deliver, from medication to essentials like milk or other groceries, is delivered as per instructions is a given. Relief Riders have also started picking up home-cooked meals from those ready to provide and dropping them off at homes with COVID-positive patients. "We usually deliver about 100 food packets during lunch and it's working out well," says Selvan who was born and brought up in Madurai and came to Hyderabad four years back.
Because of the lockdown declared in Hyderabad, the group has applied for permission, albeit informally, to continue their service with the Rachakonda and Cyberabad Police whereas Arvind Kumar IAS has already responded to their request on Twitter. Can it get better? To make their process smoother, students of Vignana Bharathi Institute of Technology have come forward with an offer to develop an app for them.
Selvan goes on to tell us about the kidney patient in Kurnool who wasn't able to procure certain medicines which, fortunately, were available in Hyderabad. So they were able to courier it there. Then there was an 80-year-old from West Marredpally who wouldn't stop showering her blessings on the cyclists, calling them beta (son) sweetly. Such is the work the cyclists have undertaken.