When it comes to physical fitness we have tried it all. The most expensive gym memberships, the painful push-ups and pull-ups, the sweaty squats and the laborious lunges, the insanity workout or the faddish BBG. We start with a bang with all the zing but then it soon fades out. The gym accessories go to the top shelf and those expensive shoes are regrets of impulsive shopping. What we fail to realise is that the only thing that sustains is what comes naturally to us.
We all remember cycling as kids, with our friends, exploring new routes. But as we grow old we get busy in our monotonous lives and are slaves to our cubicles with hardly any physical activity!
When Rakesh Singhal of Rourkela bought a cycle for his son 3 years back, he didn’t realise that it was going to transform his life forever.
At the age of 40, Rakesh suffered from gout attack and his joints would be swollen in pain. Randomly one day seeing the cycle, he thought of going for a ride. Slowly starting with 2 km in 2013, he went on to 20km within six months. He started to shed kilos, didn’t need his prediabetes medication anymore and the joint pain started to ease.
Within no time, cycling became his passion and he began to invest in good geared cycles, efficient equipments and merchandise. Soon 20kms became 100kms and he ventured off to try his first 200 kms brevet in November 2014 in Pune.
A brevet is a long distance cycling sport where the rider attempts to cycle 200km or more passing through predetermined checkpoints within a fixed time limit. The brevet really helped him challenge his endurance and he went onto finishing his second 300kms brevet in Kolkata.
Getting inspired from him, a few others started cycling in Rourkela with him. He would advise them to invest in good cycles and shorts, as that really helps to reduce friction and builds momentum to continue long distances. The cycling group called themselves “Rourkela Riders” and cycle an average 50 kms everyday.
Much like childhood, cycling with friends for hours, every Sunday “Rourkela Riders” explore new routes and cycle to many beautiful spots in and around Rourkela like Khandadhar Waterfalls(80kms), Barbil (115kms) and sometimes even ride upto Bhubaneswar(330 kms).
They even organised their own Brevet from Rourkela under the guidance of Kolkata’s Discover on Wheels which is a part of Audax India. By accomplishing a super randonee series of brevets (200, 300, 400 and 600 kms) four of the Rourkela’s randonneurs have qualified for the famous Paris–Brest–Paris Brevet and hope to visit Paris soon to realize their dreams.
Cycling is not just a passion or physical exercise or a mode to cool-off, it has also subtly evolved the personality of these riders. Cycling in groups, they learn the essence of teamwork, discipline, dedication and determination. On the road, challenging their endurance, many of them have realized their potential which they themselves were unaware of!
Cycling has given them leeway to cover larger distances whilst being connected to nature in the most pristine way. Riding through such scenic roads, in the zone, a rider is in a state of bliss of cadence sweet spot.
Beyond any doubt, most journeys are not just about the destination, but the journey itself. Let’s wish these gutsy riders, best of luck for their Paris journey!
[Contributed by: Priya Passary]