“Cycle to Re-Cycle“
A new national record in“India Book of Records”,by pedalling a Gearless bicycle on Indian“Golden Triangle” for 702.82 km in 69.38 hours, on the occasion of ‘National Renewable Energy Day’ on August 20, 2016.
Many cycle expeditions have been accomplished, many destinations have been explored and many peaks have been surmounted on one saddle and two pedals. And all this sums up to almost 12,000 km in India within last 15 months but an incomplete desire was simmering within me. An International title of Super Randonneur from France was satisfying to me and earning it for the first time in Rajasthan was even more satisfying but something was still missing deep down in my heart making me restless. A national level record was missing and my obsession led me eyeing for the one.
The supreme thing I have learnt is that ‘’To gain something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.’’ knowing this adage I headed for an untouched challenge so far and bang on! I found my challenge which is to map the Indian ‘Golden Triangle’ with a ‘Gearless’ bicycle for the first time ever in India within 72 hours”. A gearless cycle was chosen to make this challenge more challenging.
“Golden Triangle” is internationally famous tourist hub among travellers and tourists due to its connectivity to three charismatic cities. Jaipur,Agra and New Delhi.
My desire was to join the masses together to join in this campaign. And as a famous film dialogue says it all, “When you really want something, the universe always conspires in your favour.” I experienced it when Rashtradoot print media group, Rajasthan’s Home Ministry, Bharat Scout and Guides, ‘GENPACT’ Corporate team,‘Jagriti’ NGO and R.K. Marbles Ltd. obliged and joined in for the cause on my single solicitation. These gestures brought my dream closer to me.
Chasing a dream with a professional career is altogether different. One gets to learn balancing one’s obsession with professional life. I learnt it when countless hours were spent chasing the resources related to my bicycle modification, arrangement of solar panels and designing a campaign for waste management. I remember some words by Albert Einstein, “ Life is like a cycle, in order to maintain a balance you need to pedal on regularly.”
After having worked in my job tediously for 12 hours a day I used to practise in the morning and sometimes in the night. And as I always have inculcated nocturnal habits so my nights were spent sipping a hell lot of black coffee while finishing documentations related to this ride. I still remember those sleepless nights spent for three months in an inexorable pursue of my dream.
For practice, a rigorous regime was needed as the challenge was tougher because I had opted for a gearless and a heavy steel made bicycle compared to a geared one that I actually ride. Riding a gearless bike on highways and against headwinds is a different business. So I decided to practise riding and running on a hilly terrain. As It is said “The more you sweat in practice the less you will bleed in war.” Every day of rigour and every drop of perspiration turned out to be worth spending.
I have always considered myself as a warrior, one who has learnt to fight for his dreams. So before even planning to fight in this war I needed a charioteer and here comes my friend ‘Chinmay’, a national record holder for his solo cycle ride from Jaisalmer, in the west, to Manipur, in the North of India. He handled everything right from the first day of planning to the last day when I finished this challenge. He and his NGO Eco Paddlers proved out to be a life support system.
The Judgement Day:
Chinmay and me had a consensus to start this ride on a special date of August 20, 2016. This day, every year, is observed as National Renewable Energy Day. I titled this ride ‘Cycle to Recycle’.
Finally the D-day arrived. I couldn’t slept the night before journey due to anxiety.
I had a desire to start in the presence of all my friends, cyclists, colleagues and supporters and to my amazement they graciously obliged by coming to flag me off at Amar Jawan Jyoti in Jaipur.
A very nice gesture was also given by Mahendra Parikh, Secretary to Rajasthan Home Minister who, as promised, also pedalled with me for first few kilometres.
The Social Cause
After having earned a position in society it calls for taking stand for what you have believed in so far. Aim for a national record inspired me to conjoin a social cause which was related to use of Solar Energy and Recycling of waste.To promote the use of Solar Power, I installed a Solar Panel on my bicycle to charge mobile, camera and bicycle lights. The involvement ofGENPACT, a BPO, where a humongous amount of population get in daily,was instrumental when they launched a CSR drive for waste management at the flag off point of my ride.
From Jaipur, I proceeded towards Agra through NH-11. Chinmay was also riding with me on a motorbike to help me with victuals and to click photos for the maintenance of official documents. I crossed through some districts where Scout troupes were already present to felicitate me and to validate my attempt with their stamp on my log book. It was mandatory to maintain log book and get them validated by government officials during an ongoing attempt in order to submit an evidence with the record book officials.
In these districts I also delivered my message of using Solar power and Waste management. I was also contacting, on a pre notice, the police stations at major districts and was collecting stamp verification.
No Bed of Roses
“ When You continue to listen your heart you become able to understand the dodges and tricks of the journey.”
This adage keeps me moving further into my endeavours despite of adversities. How? Read it here-
If your plans are going well without any glitches than it can’t be a good plan. I had my first glitch the very first night when front lights ditched me. With no choice left I kept going in the dark and after 40 km I reached Bharatpur district where Scout troupe helped me with a big handy torch. After having slept for only 1.5 hours I started again. This is how my first day was. I was ready to see what 2nd day has to offer me.
I again started my journey to touch the second angle of this Triangle.. The national capital ‘New Delhi’. In UP state I collected stamps at three districts viz. Agra, Mathura and Kosi before entering Haryana state at 2.30am.
Pedalling through all the roads and cities I was taking breaks only to have food and to stretch the muscles. As I had a target to complete it within 72 hours so was avoiding sleep. I slept only for 4 hours in this ride. Next day, August 22 about 6.30am I reached ‘New Delhi’. By this time my urge to sleep had enormously surgedand it was getting irresistible for my body to avoid sleep which was causing the cycle handle to veer off the road. I was too crazy to stop before 72 hours and to let go of my dream. Suddenly, in Gurgaon, on one of the busiest road, my handle veered off and I saved myself in just a nano second from hitting the side railing.
To my astonishment this occurrence made my senses back and all the sombreness vanished. And I comfortably proceeded furthertowards NH-8 to touch the third and final angle of this triangle -Jaipur city. “The greatest challenge in life is to overcome the limits within yourself and pushing them to places you would never have dreamed they could go.”. Whenever I felt that it has become too hard on me, I just remembered my dream.
I was regularly getting chances to meet people in every city and state and was edifying them about non-conventional resources of energy besides exchanging the pleasantries with them.
Finally, the day was August 23 and the time was around 3am when I entered Jaipur and drew the complete ‘Golden Triangle’ by touching the end point “Amar Jawaan Jyoti”. Started on August 20 at 6.25am I finished this ride on August 23 at 4.03am making it total of 69.38 hours which is well within the targeted time of 72 hours with a gearless bicycle. Now this is a new national record in “India Books of Records”
Standing at the end point I forgot all my throes, body pain and sleepless hours spent on roads.
My escapades till date have turned out to be a great teachings for me that no book ever can render. And the foremost thing that I learnt from this challenge is to overcome our limits and fear of failure which lies deep down inside us. Working in job simultaneously, to conquer my dream led me to limitless opportunities. Eventually I overcame my fatigue and sleep hours which brought me closer to my dream.
HBB GUEST BLOGGER