The two things which I love the most as they let people move forward without any wastage are books and bicycles.
“When you want something, the entire universe conspires in making happen for you”
Something similar happened with me.
The itch to ride
I suffered my first major fall from my bike on 19th March, 2016 as I remember the fateful day of my operation. It was the day when my right arm was operated upon, so as to insert a metallic plate for treating my broken bone. The accident just broke my bone not my spirits, as I was back on the saddle with the support of my fellow group riders after a prolonged recovery. To fight my fear and to face it eye to eye, I rode through the same spot on 5th November 2016. But the fate didn’t want me to defeat my fear this time on the way back a bike banged me from behind. I almost flew and landed with a thud on the right side of the body and got dragged for a distance. This one left me with almost three weeks of limping, bruises and lower back injury. When I look back at 2016, it was a year witnessing some major falls and some painful recovery period too. I was itching to get up brush off the past, and get back on my saddle to ride towards happiness. It was not easy though, the pain and the fear to fall again started sinking in my psyche too.
I was in Delhi for work in January, 2017. It was then that I shared my will to ride again, with my cycling buddies in the city. Passionate people have a different kind of enthusiasm and energy around, which never fails to attract me, so were these riders and I was already in for a nice, long ride with them. Sai Pratyush ,my rider buddy in Mumbai helped me selecting the best bike for my ride and coordinated with Mukund of Mastermind Bike studio for the right fit for me . But this time I wanted my ride to stand strong for a cause, and I chose ‘Mental Health’ for the same, as it was close to me in many ways.
The three important men (senior and the juniors) in my life came in full support (read hubby and boys). But my little one had some sincere advice to pass on as I buckled up for the ride. He considerately said, “ride properly mumma , don’t’ have a fall this time ”.
I also shared my fear with one who is the force behind me picking up endurance cycling, Rajesh Kalra and as he always says.”Just Do it” and I was determined to DO IT!
It is rightly said, the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. There were few obstacles in our path too, so as to make our journey more glorious may be. The tougher one came out to be the already stirred jatt andolan across Haryana. We were to pass through the most active belt of andolan (protests). We made up our minds to ride through and take a call regarding the completion as per the situation confronted.
All other obstacles were a passé. I had to face the major one: fear of rising on streets and downhill (courtesy my previous falls). I mentioned this to Saurabh (one of my riding partners) and he assured me that I’ll be fine. I took his assurance.
So, it was all set and I was ready to fly to Delhi on 2nd March 2017.
Day 1 (3rd March 2017) Delhi to Kurkshetra
3rd March 2017, the day decided for the commencement of our ride and also the day to defeat all my psychological fears. Our ride was flagged off from India gate at 5.30 a.m. I and Saurabh took a deep breath, sat on the saddle and soon we were zooming through Delhi streets. So, here we were riding for a cause and we were enjoying it. The first halt happened to be at Murthal, which is precisely remembered by us for the yummy paneer parathas. Saurabh constantly accompanied me to comfort me against my fear. The weather was pleasant, making our ride an enjoyable and fantastic one. Halting at fields, clicking pictures, interacting with the local people and sipping sugarcane juice helped in smoothing our ride. By the time we reached Kurukshetra in the evening, we were dead tired. A comforting shower helped in relieving the physical tiredness. Yummy Punjabi food satiated our hunger and was a perfect full stop for the day. My inner self was already patting my back and I was thinking, “Yay, I could cycle on the highway. It was a battle which I think I was slowly conquering”.
Day 2 (4th march 2017 ) Kurukshetra to Ludhiana
We started the day at leisure as the distance to be covered was less. As usual we had our amazing paneer parantha to kick start our ride. What we thought to be an easy ride turned out to be the most treacherous one. It was very strong head and cross winds that were not allowing us to pedal ahead. We were pedaling very hard, forcing ourselves to move forward but we realized that we were cycling at snail’s pace. All this made us stop at several halts; we had to continuously sip water, drink sugarcane juice, even ORS (to keep ourselves hydrated). We pedalled with all our might after every stoppage. We kept on noticing the trees on the roadside bending with the winds, which made us realize the strength of the air currents.
Goodness finds a good cause itself, similarly Mr. Karanveer Singh and his group found about our ride on the social media. He and his team greeted us with guava juice and also a lot of encouragement. After battling the winds it was such a delight to meet Mr.Karan and his group.
We finally reached Ludhiana by evening. Our stay arrangements couldn’t be done due to short notice, but help poured in from all sides. One of my rider friends in Mumbai, Swati Sablok’s father, Mr.Jagdeep Sablok, came forward to help us. We couldn’t thank him enough for the way he took care of us like his own children.
He received us at Ludhiana entrance and then took us straight to a cycling expo. The expo was quite wide spread and as soon as we entered the expo we were greeted by Ludhiana cycling club. We were easily recognized as cyclists firstly because of our attire and secondly with dirt all over us. It was fantastic to meet this super energetic group and all our tiredness due to our ride fighting the vicious winds vanished in thin air (ironical).
We then headed to the guest house to call it a day (a very tiring but enriching day).
Day 3 (5th March 2017) Ludhiana to Amritsar
Our tired bodies rested well and we started early. It was the second last day of our ride, and we were super excited to reach Amritsar. The route was beautiful, while the weather favoured our movement. We had a different zing in our ride today (today being the concluding day). The excitement of completion of our journey, made the hard hitting winds from all directions, quite bearable on this day. We chatted, ate good food, stopped at several places and pedalled faster every time Saurabh chanted encouragingly, “Chal puttar pedal maar”.
An old saying goes like, birds of same feather flock together, may be this is the reason we could get to meet passionate riders like us every time. We were lucky to spot few riders wearing fluorescent orange jerseys riding in the wee hours. We stopped them to inquire about their club if any. They informed us about their club called Jalandhar Cycling Club.
They lead us to Haveli, a wonderful huge open restaurant serving most delicious north Indian food we ever had. The morsels satiated our tummies, taste buds and even souls with their taste. We then bid good bye to them as we had to reach our destination.
As mentioned earlier too, the vibe attracts the tribe, so were we attracted to so many amazing cycling groups on our way. The experience was enriching as a rider.
We reached Amritsar by evening and were greeted by the gates of the huge and pious Golden temple. Yes, the long stretch of the ride was over!
We visited the Golden temple in the evening to seek blessings and had sumptuous food at brothers dhaba. As the day came to an end at the peaceful and blissful gates of Harminder Sahib, we were the happiest souls around that day.
Day 4 (6th March 2017) Amritsar to Wagah Border
The final lap was the shortest, hence we were totally relaxed. We started late and started to ride after moving out of the city. We drove for a distance and then assembled our bikes to ride towards Attari. As our fate was with us throughout the ride, we met another set of riders from Amritsar cycling club. We enjoyed tea together before heading towards the border. Mr. Harminder joined us to the border, as we approached the partition line we beheld the huge Indian flag hoisting with pride up in the sky. The feelings fall short for words and can’t be ever expressed verbally. While we approached the border, I was overwhelmed with the completion of our journey.
Yes, I did it and we did it !
This ride was mind over matter for me. I was able to overcome if not all but few of my fears and undoubtedly Saurabh , my co-rider played a major role in making me complete the ride by his encouraging words. He made me draft behind him when head winds were hitting us , he slowed down with me when he saw that I was exhausted , he did not bother about his strava average but rode along with me irrespective of the speed . I owe you a lot Saurabh !
Excuses come handy but to make things happen what it takes is – WILL
Family , children , home , responsibilities , social image , duties ,expectation will never leave but to find a way out from all this and live for your passion is the key .
Get up and move! Do it !
P.S: Special thanks to Apollo Hospital , Sledgehammer Foundation , RiteBite ,DNA,Poineer ,My Powai for coming in full support in very short time .