BANGALORE: It was a sea of green at Field Marshal Maneskshaw Parade Ground on Friday morning as over 70 cyclists clamoured on to their cycles to ride to the Nilgiris. They were looking at covering 860 kms in eight days. The annual event RideACycle Foundation (RAC-F), ‘BSA Tour of Nilgiris’ was flagged off on Friday by Major General AK Pradhan.Minister for Law, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs S Suresh Kumar presided over the ceremony. Minister encouraged the cyclists and said, “Instead of having fun during the holiday season, you are going on an adventure.You are not going to believe me, in fact no one believes a politician, but during my college days, even I went on a similar adventure. But back then we didn’t have high-end cycles.”He also stressed on the need for adequate safety measures to prevent untoward incidents.The participants were carrying banners and dressed in green to promote and encourage cycling in India, they were also shouting slogans on the benefits of cycling to the bystanders.There were hugs and encouraging words to wish their close friends and family.A participant, Ram said, “I feel really proud to be a part of this. It gives us all great pleasure to be a part of an adventure that one can see only on television.It is a nice opportunity to let ourselves feel free and explore South India on road.”Several participants were experienced cross country cyclists, who were keen on encouraging cycling even among city dwellers.Minister Suresh Kumar said, “We must encourage events like these. Soon Bangalore will have a separate path for cyclists. The cycling culture is fading away and we must do something to restore it among the youth. These cyclists are not only on a tour, but they are also on a revolutionary mission to bring a new culture of cycling to the members of this society.”Each day every participant will be covering the planned distance in a span of 10 hours. Tour director Vasu explained, “We don’t cycle after 5 pm. There are a few participants who complete the planned distance for the day in four hours and a few who take over nine hours. Hence, the need to break the journey carefully. We provide food and water during the tour. To motivate the cyclists, we will also have competitive segments every day.”Funds collected from this event will be used to sponsor projects to develop health and living conditions of under privileged children, the organisers said.