A journey of cycling and will
This is the perfect weather to travel on bike. Long-distance cyclists share how to prep for it
Acquiring an interest in cycling and ambitiously embarking on a long-distance tour is one thing, having essentials in place to ward off evils en route to another region or continent is another. It may seem like a cakewalk for several, at least in the beginning, but two cycling enthusiasts gave us a bite of the reality sandwich.
'Take it one day at a time'
Abhishek Iyer, Marine engineer
Iyer, who toured within Norway for a few weeks in 2018, admits such journeys are challenging no matter how well-prepared and well-resourced you are. Often communication is a challenge, thanks to poor connectivity. He shares, "Weather here is volatile; you experience rain, snow and wind in a span of 10 minutes. But since I have been biking for four to six years, it hasn't been that tough."
Iyer says being alone is a big part of the journey. "You have to take micro decisions to keep in motion. Norway is pretty hilly, so you need to constantly keep pedalling. At the end of the day, I have to look for places to camp, set up a tent and cook dinner; which is a whole lot of effort," Iyer shares.
So how does one keep their mental health in check? He adds, "Take a day at a time. Tell yourself you will be okay. Buy second-hand equipment and not fancy stuff for the journey. And lastly, be prepared to bike six to seven hours a day. In order to train yourself physically, start biking within cities and see if you enjoy the ride. If you pass this test, there should be no stopping you."
Five essentials to carry: Warm sleeping bag, kitchen tools, change of clothes, toiletries and food.
'Know that comfort may not be possible'
Prashant Madan, Mumbai-based filmmaker
Madan, who journeyed from Mumbai to Myanmar and Thailand in 2017, shares that breathtaking landscapes and chance encounter with locals and other adventure enthusiasts are a bonus earned from such tours. According to him, such long rides need halts taken every day. Madan adds, "We started our journey on February 27, 2017, and finished in 62 days. Interestingly, we planned this for months, but in the end, unpredictable weather changes will foil all your arrangements."
Prashant Madan, who toured from Mumbai to Myanmar and Thailand in 2017, shares that one must be prepared to stay in places that are not at par in terms of comfort
So, how does one prepare self for these sudden jumps in weather? Madan informs, "In the beginning, it was cooler, but the last few weeks got very hot in Myanmar. There were intermittent thunderstorms, too. This route is therefore known for fluctuating weather conditions. As the road conditions are by and large good, we did not face problem in cycling our way across the border. When it came to nutrition, however, we did hit some roadblocks. In North East India, they mostly have rice in all meals, which may result in ruining your diet. We could not get the chicken and roti that we wanted. For vegetarians, therefore, this may get trickier. The key is to carry your vegetables."
Madan says the Indo-Myanmar Friendship Road is breathtaking. "While it is gorgeous, one cannot take two-wheelers there. So you have to go through the historical city of Bagan instead. Therefore, one must be prepared to stay in places that are not at par in terms of comfort. Worst case scenario, you have to tent it out."
The filmmaker adds that long tours usually take a toll on mental health, so cycling in a group or befriending locals comes in handy. "Filming your journey also keeps you busy. While some places have welcoming locals, others don't. So you have to ensure you have enough food and entertainment to eventually complete trip," he tells us.
Five essentials to carry: Sunscreen, Google maps, couple of spare parts, right kind of clothing to battle weather conditions and passport.
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