Monday 8 December 2014

New Dawn, New Beginning

Around a year ago, when some young enthusiasts began Discover on Wheels as a cycling club, they hardly had any thought of hosting brevets in Kolkata. But some months down the line, six of its members travelled all the way to Hyderabad on a monsoon morning to taste brevet and test their endurance. 

A journey was made — not just to the Deccan but to another world of cycling. And, another journey started after they came back home completing 200km successfully in an unknown terrain. This journey was more of determination than just cycling. This one was to bring brevets to Kolkata. 

One fine evening in September, we got a mail from AIR that Kolkata will be added by Audax Club Parisien in the century-old club's international list of cities offering brevet from November. The time was too short to prepare among ourselves yet we selected routes keeping every other possible aspect in mind. And, we just rolled out our plan online for a great brevet season!

(The Times of India coverage on November 29, 2014)

And, following is what two of our most enthusiastic riders had to say on completing the maiden BRM in Kolkata.

Nishant Maheshwari (who successfully took the challenge of 300 km with hours to spare):

If you want to beat the fear of dark unlit roads with heavy trucks and trailers zooming past you... then BRMs are a must do for you.

The first 300 km Kolkata Brevets started just past midnight at 00.30am and in less than about 20 minutes, we were on the national highway — only the blinding winter fog and may be half asleep truckers for company... 

I had never cycled in such conditions and i would be lying if i said i was not scared. But i think it was the passion to perform and the thrill of a BRM which helped me overcome this fear in couple of hours. Then those curious eyes of the truckers and dhabawallahs were not threatening. They were just looking for an answer that what on earth is this crazy cyclist up to. 

BRM is about everything which your parents will tell you not to do. Riding on dark unlit highways, forest reserves, long enduring hours on the saddle with no back-up....but still why do we do this? Because that is the challenge. 

Peope who set out to conquer Mt. Everest on foot have a negligible chance of survival. Ultra-marathoners run 100s of kms; Iron man participants endure so much just for a finishers medal... what is making these people strive so hard and put their bodies go through so much pain and exhaustion. It's the self-satisfaction, inner peace and happiness.

Sitting on a couch watching TV or winning stages of a video game was and will never be a challenge. All expeditions come with its own adventure, fear and challenge but the joy of achievement is unmatchable. BRM is just one such expedition — on cycle!

(The Statesman coverage on December 8, 2014)

Richard Fernandes (who finished 200 km in just nine hours):

This was my first-ever ride for more than 100 km.

A 200 km straight away would have been devastating without preparation. In an endeavour to keep the average speed at 30 km/hr through out the 200 km, I hurried it up in the initial 100 km with a varying speed of 30 to 35 km/hr. 

After 50 km, the average speed which I maintained was 25 to 27 km/hr. After 100, it was never below 25 km/hr. Clocked a satisfying nine hours, an additional 30 minutes attributed to the rush hour traffic while entering Kolkata.

I plan to complete 400 before 20 hours. Happy riding!!!

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