Published: 10th July 2019
Meet Coimbatore's Swadesi Bikers, who plant trees every time they take a road trip
The founder of ‘Swadesi Bikers’, Gowri Shankar, plants a tree for every ride he takes
When we think of bikers, it’s their snazzy bike gear, cool patterned helmets and the ‘vroom’ sound of their bikes that first comes to mind.
Gowri Shankar, a biker from Coimbatore, represents all this but there is a small difference; he organises ‘green bike rallies’ where the group plants trees along the routes they traverse.
It all began on his birthday last year, when he resolved to do something good for the environment, after learning that automobiles were the greatest contributors to air pollution after industries. "I invited 10 of my biker friends to the VOC ground saying that there was a bikers’ meet-up. Instead of arranging a regular birthday party with cakes and balloons, I got tree saplings and limited refreshments. I wanted to surprise my friends,” says the 25-year-old. However, he was the one who got surprised instead as nearly 70 bikers had assembled there - his personal invitation had unexpectedly become an open invite. "I was taken aback when I noticed so many bikers. I never even knew many of them personally," he giggles.
Like any bike ride, this event had its share of speed breakers too. As it was an unannounced event, there were other uninvited guests - the police. But Gowri’s calm demeanour made sure that they did not cause any trouble. "We approached the police and explained the situation. I didn't want to dishearten the bikers gathered so I tried my best to convince them to let us go ahead with the programme. Finally they agreed and in lines of two, we organised a rally till the Codissia Trade Fair Complex," he adds.
He distributed trees sapling to every person gathered at the meet-up. The group also took an oath that they would throw seed balls along the grounds during every ride they take together on each member’s birthday. This was how his ‘green biker group’, Swadesi Bikers, came into being. So how many trees have they planted so far? "Individually, I have planted more than 200 trees so far. As a team, we have planted nearly 3000 trees," he gushes. Oh my! Now that's a number we didn’t expect!