Vignesh, a graduate from Erode, took his non-gear cycle all the way to Jammu, and started pedalling from there on August 28th. It took him 56 days to travel across the length of India. But he proved that doing such a marathon trip is entirely possible.
“People give silly reasons for not cycling 10 kms aday as a fitness routine. I wanted to spread awareness that you can even cycle across the country”, says Vignesh.
He cycled through Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and finally, Tamil Nadu.
He would start out at 5 a.m. and keep going till 5.30 p.m. He would bunk down in dhabas or petrol stations for the night. “I had both good and bad experiences”, he reminiscences. “At some dhabas, I was readily allowed to stay the night when people heard what I was doing, and that I was from Tamil Nadu. At others, I was asked to leave immediately. I would cycle on till I found a dhaba willing to accommodate me.”
“I got so bored with north Indian food that when some lorry drivers from Tamil Nadu who I met in Jhansi shared their food with me, I had tears in my eyes”, he chuckles.
Vignesh says he spent a total of Rs 12,000 on the trip, of which Rs 3000 went towards stay and the rest on food and medical expenses.
He also had first-hand experience of India's diverse weather conditions. “It was winter in the north when I started cycling. When I reached Central India, it was raining. I continued cyclingeven when it was raining moderately, though in heavy downpours, I would stop and rest.”
Vignesh's grandfather was his biggest supporter in this venture. His parents were afraid for his safety, but bravely encouraged him too.
He has now set his sights on international trips. He wants to cycle from India to Sri Lanka first, and then go further afield....