GPS art to create Polio awareness

Cyclists at the finishing point.
Cyclists at the finishing point.

Members of RC Guindy, RID 3232, in association with the Cycling Fellowship of Rotarians from Chennai, rode 16km across Chennai to create a GPS imprint with the message End Polio Now. GPS art involves recording the location with Global Positioning System (GPS) while cycling, walking, riding a bike or driving a car, and drawing pictures or messages on the tracks. The GPS Art Project was flagged off by DG J Sridhar.

Using the Strava app a route was created to complete the GPS art. Twenty-five cyclists rode in a single file for 12 hours to attempt an entry into the India Book of Records which is now in the evaluation stage. Naresh Kumar KN, the lead cyclist and a club member says, “The city of Chennai was our canvas, our movements, the paint, and our cycles made the brush strokes perfectly.” It may not be art in the conventional sense “but we rode the 16km to trace the GPS paths and sketch out End Polio Now.”

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The most challenging part, he points out, was the planning. “Unlike cities like San Francisco where the streets are planned block by block, Chennai does not have grids and sectors that are convenient for cyclists.” After 20 hours of planning and ensuring that it did not hit a dead-end, the route was finalised. “Riding in one’s home city has a certain magic,” he says. “You discover different places, and areas you’d never had the chance to see.”

Another challenge was the weather. “It was a rainy day, but the enthusiasm the cyclists, both Rotarians and non-Rotarians, showed was great,” says Kumar.

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