On 3rd June World Bicycle Day, 14-Year-old MTB Champion Malav Dutta was appointed as the first Junior Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati. He was selected from among a set of 5 bright young people who had applied for the position. This is a program initiated by the Amsterdam based social enterprise BYCS who had earlier appointed the first Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati Arshel Akhter in 2018. In Guwahati the program was implemented under the support and guidance of Pedal For Change – an NGO working towards promotion of cycling and cyclists in the region. The NGO was founded in 2019 by Pratibhu Dutta, Bikash Doley and Arshel Akhter.
BYCS appoints Bicycle Mayors for advocating cycling as a mode of sustainable urban transport. The Junior Bicycle Mayor program is designed to encourage youngsters to take up cycling and prepare them for future leadership roles in this area. The Junior Bicycle Mayor will be guided and supported by the Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati to promote cycling. The Junior Bicycle Mayor will be the voice for making the city safer for children.
Malav Dutta a student of Capital Metropolitan English High School, Zoo Tiniali, is a bright young person who has done very well in competitive sports in a very short time. He started practising for MTB and joined it for the last couple of years and has performed very well. He had won two medals at the 16th National Mountain Biking Championship held in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, this year. Apart from this, he has performed well in many competitions across the region. He regularly participates in various other cycling events like rallies and rides across the city.
Malav says that he wants to encourage youngsters to take up mountain biking as a sport. He also wants to encourage more people to use cycles as a mode of transport so that the pollution levels are reduced and people remain fit. He wants the city to be safer for cycling.
With his selection, Malav becomes the 3rd Junior Bicycle Mayor in India. The first one is a boy from Valsad in Gujarat and the second one is a girl from Trivandrum in Kerela who was also selected on 3rd June 2020. Internationally, two other cities have Junior Bicycle Mayor – Amsterdam and Dublin.
Apart from the selection of Malav Dutta the Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati, Arshel Akhter, collaborated with the other 40+ Bicycle Mayors in India to organise a virtual musical concert with the support of DJ Vispi. This virtual event was a culmination of a month long activation program where people from all across the country were asked to share their photos with their cycles and family to celebrate this year’s World Bicycle Day along with their families. They received more than 1000 photos from across the country and these photos were made into a video to showcase the diversity of the cycle lovers from all over. Cycling Clubs from every part of the country participated very enthusiastically in the event.