There is a hero in every one of us, goes an adage.
Nikita Lalwani, an instrumentation engineer from Varodara, has proved it. Three years ago, she chose bicycle as a mode of transport and has stuck to her choice since then. Now, she is spreading awareness about how one can contribute to reducing air pollution by riding a bicycle, which is also a physical exercise that keeps people physically fit.
Earlier, Nikita used to drive car and two wheeler to her office. She would also take autorickshaw to reach workplace. But she found it time consuming to take these vehicles for short-distance travel. The distance between her home and office is approximately four kilometres.
She found bicycle more convenient after she borrowed friend's cycle to reach the work place.
Since then, she has been promoted bicycling in Varodara and surrounding areas. She has inspired her relatives, friends and other professionals to adopt cycling as an eco-friendly transport.
In 2014, Nikita visited Germany where she saw many people going on bicycles for work and shopping.
On her own, Nikita studied the cycling trends in Germany to know how people opted cycle as a mode of transport for short-distance travel. When she returned to India, she motivated her colleagues to take up cycling. During the course of this exercise, she found that many Indians avoided cycling because of varying psychological attitudes.
CycleSpace, an initiative of Amsterdam to promote use of bicycles, organised an event in Varodara in 2015-2016. As part of this event, CycleSpace organised Bicycle Mayor Programme in which Nikita took part. Nikita was awarded the title of India's first Bicycle Mayor at this event.
Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands. Cycling is key to the city's character, and there are numerous bike paths in Amsterdam.
Enthused at the response she got from the Amsterdam-based organisation, Nikita launched The Cycling Cities Initiative, a campaign to promote use of bicycles. Many people joined her campaign. In 2016, Nikita launched a project called by Cycling Cities - TRING. Its acronym is - Try Cycling.
On April 18, 2017, which was World Heritage Day, Nikita launched Baroda By Cycle campaign. In last one year, she has organised cycle-promoting events in Varodara and Delhi.
Keeping in view Nikita's efforts, IIM Udaipur invited her under its entrepreneurship programme in 2016.
Now, she has been invited to take part in global cycling conference, which will be held in Amsterdam next month. At present, she is raising funds to cover her expenses for her overseas travel.