The Namma Cycle Campus Bicycle Sharing is being executed by Ride A Cycle Foundation to promote Bicycles for hiring by faculty/staff and visitors of IISc.
RACF, a Non Profit Organization that promotes cycling in cities is looking to expand the system in other campuses and also within IISc.
In case you are finishing your term in June/July 2013 and would like to leave your sweet memory with IISc, there is nothing like gifting  your bicycle to Namma Cycle.
Donating a Bicycle is a great way of helping out the student community and promoting sustainability. Your Bicycle will be recycled, refurbished and distributed back into the student community.
We will also put your name on the Bicycle and also give you a permanent Namma Cycle ID card so that you can use Namma Cycle whenever you come to visit IISc Free Of Cost.
Donations your Bicycle will really make a great difference to campus transport.
In case you are interested in Donating your Bicycle,
Please contact :
Shankar, Operations Manager, Namma Cycle – 99162-52247
Help us make IISc a Green, Clean Campus.
Thanks & Regards,
Namma Cycle,

Namma Cycle in 2012

Namma Cycle left the year 2012 with over 3000 trips covering 4500 km. In the process, it prevented a tonne of CO2 emissions because 300 liters of petrol were not used, saving about 25,000 rupees.

Namma Cycle in numbers2012 - blog



Though the user base is quite small at the moment since over 2000 residents use their own cycles, the number of trips has seen an increasing trend as the concept of SHARING is catching on. 60% of all the trips were completed WITHIN 30 MINUTES, 40% of all trips were ENJOYED FOR FREE as members do not pay for the first half hour.

Our user base ranged from 14 year old students from near by schools who came to IISc for tuitions, to IISc veterans visiting IISc again along with the next generation of students. People used cycles not just to reach from one end of the campus to another, but made it a part of their exercise and also celebrations!

We had our share of excitement and celebrations as we went from one milestone to another. Shamala, a cyclist and “namma volunteer” has beautifully documented our journey so far in this article on Citizen Matters.

In 2013, we hope to cover more miles and reach new milestones with continued support from the community.



Join us in creating the future of mobility

Looking for a space to explore and experiment while you take time off?

Make your sabbatical exciting while you co-create a sustainable urban mobility program. The public bicycle sharing system at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is a first step towards our vision of creating a working, sustainable model that can be replicated in campuses, small towns and even in cities.


‘Sharing’ our Vision of the next century

We have two opportunities that might interest you.

Creative Collaboration Executive

We are looking for someone who can mobilize resources to support our public bicycle sharing program at IISc.

You will have to seek grants and look out for partnerships and sponsorship to enable us to sustain, innovate and realize our vision. We desire to make the partnership with our collaborators meaningful by creating avenues for mutual benefit.

If you have ideas and models that could work, you are free to try them out here at our lab.

Experience in sales, fundraising, event management, entrepreneurial ventures, etc. is desired.

Cycle renting station

Proposed design for Cycle renting station

Program Manager

We are looking for someone who can run the flagship bicycle sharing program at IISc. The program at IISc is a working prototype which is constantly being subjected to new features and process changes as the system matures.

You will have to manage diverse teams including Operations, Software Development and Engineering Services. You will also have to interact with stake holders including Users of the system, Student Council, Faculty, Security, etc.

You will soon realize that it is quite an adventure.

Experience in event management, program management, entrepreneurial ventures, etc. is desired.

Contact us for further information

Intern with Namma Cycle

Namma Cycle is looking for interns interested in understanding the nuances of designing and creating public utilities, specifically in the area of Urban Mobility. It is also an opportunity to explore various frameworks such as social enterprise, co-operatives, self-help groups, etc. to build such systems.

Join us on an adventure called Public Bicycle Sharing that was conceptualized more than 3 years ago and launched in August 2012.


What kind of a person?

We are looking for an enthusiastic, cheerful and proactive person to manage the bicycle sharing program at the Indian Institute of Science campus, Bangalore. The program is being implemented by Ride A Cycle Foundation  in collaboration with the Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning (CiSTUP), IISc.

  • Candidates can be from any background – science, arts, engineering, etc.
  • A bachelor’s degree is desirable.
  • Proficiency in English and Kannada is expected.
  • Knowledge of computers and internet is assumed.
  • Knowledge of Software Development using Java, javascript, Android, etc. will be an advantage.

Knowing how to ride a bicycle is a must.

What are you expected to do?

Working on a prototype has its share of challenges. We are continuously innovating with technology and processes and our setup is akin to a research and development lab.

You will get into the thick of things managing operations, interacting with stakeholders, managing accounts and handling human resources and training. You will work with the operations team and provide feedback to the program team on day to day operations as well as deployment of new processes and systems.

What can you expect?

If you are thinking about money, we can pay you a stipend to cover your living expenses.

Apart from that, you will get to work in the beautiful, clean and green campus of IISc. IISc is bustling with many activities, talks and conferences throughout the year. Visits by dignitaries are common.

Just outside IISc is Malleshwaram, the cultural hub of Bangalore.

Contact us at for further information.

Bicycle for Biodiversity

Of all the developmental issues that are discussed at various events, seminars and competitions, the one aspect that actually brings people to such events  – Mobility – is often the most neglected.

IISc was the venue for the 2nd Indian Bio Diversity Congress (IBC) held in Bangalore from 9th December to 11th December 2012 and we at Namma Cycle were happy to have many participants and dignitaries at the Conference make good use of Namma Cycle to move around the campus.

We were honored to have two eminent people – Prof. R Sukumar and Ms. Malika Virdi get onto our cycles.

Prof. Sukumar happy to be on a bicycle after more than a decade

Prof. Sukumar happy to be on a bicycle after more than a decade

Murali was planning on meeting Prof. R Sukumar to discuss the acceptance and inclusion of Bicycle as an important factor for Bio Diversity, and there he was – resting at one of our Namma Cycle stations! Were we glad! We talked at length about the benefits of cycling and how people tend to stop cycling for various reasons. Prof. R Sukumar remarked that he hadn’t been on a cycle for more than 15 years and was happy to be able to cycle after such a long time, even it was for a few minutes.

Prof. R Sukumar, the working chairman of IBC 2012, is a Professor at the Center for Ecological Sciences at IISc. His work on Asian Elephants has been published into three books.

Malika Virdi with a bunch of happy kids on cycles

Malika Virdi with a bunch of happy kids on cycles


Serendipity struck again as Malika Virdi came down all the way from the Himalayas to participate in the Green Politics session at the Conference just when Lavanya was planning to visit her at her place.

As we went around the campus with Malika and Leo Saldana’s family, we made the mistake of asking her if she can cycle about 100 kms (may be to Mysore). She answered by saying she had cycled from Delhi to Bhopal!!

Malika Virdi is a mountain farmer and former Sarpanch of the Sarmoli-Jainti Van Panchayat in Munsiari, Uttarakhand – a beautiful place nestled in the Greater Himalaya. She was also part of the first All Women Trans-Himalayan trekking expedition in 1997.

Coming back to the Conference, Ride A Cycle Foundation appealed for Bicycle to be seen as an important factor for conserving Bio Diversity.

Here is the full text of the appeal.

Ride A Cycle Foundation sees an urgent need to reduce emissions from automobiles which are causing air and sound pollution and degradation of diverse life in the city. We believe bicycling as a means of commute will significantly reduce the damage to the natural environment and improve the health of human beings. Bicycle as a vehicle can integrate man back to nature and help him discover himself in totality with nature. Bicycle as a vehicle that moves in silence causes least disturbance to the life around and hence plays a pivotal role in conserving bio diversity. Bicycle as a Zero Emission Vehicle increases the vitality of the life around.

Keeping in mind the above points, Ride A Cycle Foundation appeals to the delegates and participants of IBC 2012 to conserve Bio Diversity by promoting Cycling.

We request The Indian Bio Diversity Congress to pass these resolutions to protect Bio Diversity specifically in Urban Landscapes.

 ·Strongly advocate creation of green infrastructure which will provide for resilient biodiversity with adequate and safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists.

·Request Colleges/Offices/Institutions/Hospitals/Corporates to Encourage cycling by forming cycling clubs, Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) and walking groups who will by their regular proactive action will commit to restoring and enhancing biodiversity in the city by their behavior.

·Ask local municipality to implement Public Bicycle Sharing in all Indian Cities, so that Bicycle becomes the most preferred vehicle of commute in the Indian Urban Landscape.



Santa’s gift to our node managers

Our Node Managers got an early Christmas present when they got the Android version of EcBike (pronounced “Easy Bike”) on their Samsung Chat mobile phones. EcBike is NammaCycle’s software system that supports the processes behind public bicycle sharing.

Deepak Shivamurthy, a good friend of Murali, became our Santa Claus as he developed a neat Android application for node managers. Our Node Managers now start and stop trips using a simple process that involves two steps. This is a big step for us in bringing the various pieces of our software and operations together.

Deepak with the application he developed

Deepak  (R) with the application he developed, along with Murali

The Android application on Samsung phone


After much deliberation and numerous tests on BSNL Penta tablets, we finally narrowed in on Samsung Chat as it has a keypad (our tryst with touch screen phones was exasperating and short-lived) and supports the latest Android version – Ice cream Sandwich.

If anyone is interested in adding more features to the application, please write to us at





Less is more

How often do we get to see people asking you to increase the fare? Also, how do we get people to accept the idea of unlimited free rides (for short rides)?

The idea of first few minutes of usage being free is not new as most telecom companies employ a similar strategy. However, at Namma Cycle, the idea behind getting people to use and return a cycle within 30 mins at zero cost, has its roots in our philosophy of holding onto resources only for the duration that we really need, thus having enough for everyone with minimal resources.

For the past 3 weeks, we have been trying to make people unlearn the concept of ‘renting’ and get used to ‘sharing’ cycles.  Today, our operations manager got a free lesson in economics from a resident cycle mechanic cum cycle rental owner as the mechanic strongly dismissed our idea of unlimited free 30 min rides as stupid. He even told us that ‘smart’ users would return the cycles within 30 mins and immediately log another trip for another 30 mins of free usage. Well, that is exactly our intention.

A few visitors are pleasantly surprised to be able to go around the campus on a cycle for Rs. 20 or less. One gentleman suggested that we increase the fare!




A slice of Copenhagen in Bangalore

Yesterday, we were happy to share our cycle, and our philosophy of cycle sharing, with a guest from Copenhagen. Copenhagen happens to be one of our inspirations for making our towns and cities cycle friendly, so, we were naturally excited. Henrik Valeur, architect-urbanist, critic, curator, thinker and writer, came to IISc to check out Namma Cycle.

Henrik, Shraddha and Ashwin

Henrik shared his thoughts, philosophies and ideas about cycle sharing and gave us some suggestions. We also shared with him the challenges of implementing a bicycle sharing system in the urban Indian context. He admitted that though Copenhagen was the first to introduce an urban bike sharing program called Copenhagen City Bikes, they have a lot to improve in terms of technology.

His two friends, Shraddha and Ashwin, both urban designers and architects, were also mighty impressed to see such a system in action. Shraddha was particularly happy about getting her cycle adjusted for her height :)

The advantages of a simple, flexible system

When we planned 5 stations for phase 1, we wanted to strike a balance between reaching out to the outermost areas of IISc as well as serve locations where movement of people is high. In the last 2 weeks of operation, we saw that one of the stations hardly saw any usage and so, based on user feedback, we have shifted this station to a more popular location. The shifting of the rack, cycles and information boards was complete within 30 minutes and Rs. 200 and the station became immediately operational.

Shifting a rarely used station to a more popular location

Another instance where our flexibility let us serve a needy customer was when a high school student came over to one of our stations (also called node) and asked – “Aunty, I am late for my tuition class. Can I borrow a cycle?” The node manager thought for a second and decided to lend him a cycle by taking his phone number as a guarantee. He wanted to use the cycle beyond our working hours, so one of our node managers stayed back for an extra 30 mins so that the student could return the cycle after his classes. Of course, the student did pay for the hire but we were happy to be able to serve a needy student.

Agile in action @ Namma Cycle

The past 2 weeks at the lovely campus at IISc has seen another reason to go green and healthy. The much talked about bicycle sharing system – Namma Cycle – was finally launched on 6th August. Ever since, we have seen excitement, mayhem and a lot of encouragement from volunteers (thanks Roshan and Shyamala for being with us). Every new registration and every cycle that is rented (and returned safely) have added energy to the program.

Murali explaining the system. Photo courtesy – Deepak

6 new joinees, especially Sowmya, our first employee, have been running the system very naturally. That is the power of simplicity.

Sowmya – our first employee and a natural team leader

That said, we definitely need your support in making this an even bigger success so that we can see shared cycles across Bangalore very soon. We need people with the following skills/interests right now.

Paid opportunities: (can expect a salary of 7k and above, plus food)

1. Semi skilled programmers/computer literate people who can fix bugs in the software system as well as handle reporting, accounting, etc.

2. Computer/tablet  users who can play the role of node managers who can issue cycles.

Raju – Namma cycle’s namma mechanic (our mechanic)

Volunteer opportunities:

1. Writing an Android application for the bicycle sharing system. Currently we have a browser based application to handle registrations and cycle rentals, but we would love to have an Android app running on the tablets that the node managers use.

2. Mechanical engineers who can design a light-weight trailer for moving cycles

3. Teach young minds simple English/Hindi so our node managers can interact better with Namma Cycle users.

4. Curious, happy people who can hang around for sometime and provide moral support or just use the system and help bring out issues in the system.

Come, join us and see agile methodology in action, while we try to implement simple solutions to address our mobility needs!