Chennai gets its first women’s cycling gang, courtesy yoga and crossfit teacher, Gayathre Rajam
EVEN as Afghanistan’s first women’s national cycling team aspires to participate in the Tour de France, back home we have fitness enthusiast Gayathre Rajam pioneering the city’s first women’s cycling team. Her group—which started riding last year, in October—has a new name, G3 —Gayathre’s Gang of Girls, and is having its official launch on March 20. With black and white jerseys and a list of celebrity names, the cyclists will have their first official ride on March 21, from 6 am to 8 am, on OMR. Actor and cyclist, Arya, will also be part of the ride.
Rajam, a triathlete and yoga and Crossfit teacher, has been cycling for more than five years. “I used to go cycling with my husband Srinath’s cycling team, Madrascals. It had 15 men and two women. Most often, the men used to surpass me and leave me behind. One day, while cycling near Muttukadu, I came across beautiful birds and realised there was more to cycling. That’s when I thought of starting an all-women’s team. Besides cycling, it could be a good way to get together, stay fit, enjoy the moment and take loads of pictures which men never do,” she shares. It was easy for Rajam to encourage some of her yoga students to join her on a cycling trip. In no time they had 25 members. Rajam also has celebrities coming to her for yoga and Crossfit, like actor Jyothika Surya, costume designer Poornima Ramasamy, director Aishwarya Dhanush and Brinda, actor Suriya’s sister. “It was Jyothika who came up with the name G3. Our first ride started at the ECR toll and went all the way to Mahabalipuram. We had 20 girls on our ride that day. They were all ecstatic that they had completed 27 km and we had breakfast at Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay, followed by a lengthy photo session. Everyone just loved the outing,” shares Rajam, who now holds rides every Saturday. The team currently has 75 members and Rajam has also called for state-level coach Selva Kumar to guide the team.
Not all women
G3 has five men as part of their support team. Suresh Kumar, from Pro Bikers, supplies all the technical support. “This is the first all-women’s cycling group in Chennai. I generally provide hybrid road bikes to the women. I also assist them on the right position and height, and am part of the ride from start to finish. I have sold 25 bikes to the G3 gang and also give 25 bikes for rental,” says the professional biker. He plans to arrange a three- to four-day bike ride to Coonoor as part of the Tamil Nadu Cycling Club (TCC) initiative. The official photographer of the gang is Satyajit Dhananjayan, son of the dancing couple of India. The gang goes cycling every Saturday and covers 35 to 50 kilometers. “Some of our girls even did the TCC 100 km event and completed it successfully. A lot of them haven’t cycled since their childhood. This gives them a good platform to return to it after almost 25 years,” says Rajam, who sourced the jerseys for the 75-member team from Tirupur. “I had actress Amala Paul join, after seeing the smart black-and-white jerseys,” she boasts. The team also sees some mother-daughter duos.
The official launch of G3 will be at Gayathre’s residence in Boat Club, on March 20, from 6 pm to 7.30 pm. The launch will see actors Arya, Arun Vijay, Suriya and Jayam Ravi. Details: 9884024735