A Truly Impressive Cross-India Bike Trip

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In December as most of you know, I cycled around 400 kilometres from Delhi to northern Rajasthan. I had a fancy multi-speed bike, panniers filled with clothing, spare parts, snacks and multiple bottles of water. People along the way said how amazed they were at what I did as did many of you readers. But honestly, with training, experience, equipment, and money the trip was not too difficult. I made a leisurely 60-90 km/day, stopped for chai or snacks along the way, slept in comfortable hotels with showers and room service. It was fun and interesting but not, in my opinion, something particularly impressive.

However, the person who is impressing me right this minute is Jyoti Kumari, a 15 year old girl from a village in Bihar, India. Her and her dad were living in a suburb of Delhi as they were migrant workers. Once lockdown happened work was scarce and they needed to get home. However, trains weren’t running and her father was ill as well. This didn’t stop Ms. Kumari. With some of their last money she bought a simple bike that appears to be a single-speed bike meaning something not terribly fast on flats and difficult to climb hills. Her dad sat on the back of the bike and she pedaled him home. 1,200 kilometres over the course of 7 days – almost 170 km/day (100 miles). At times food was scarce so she was not only carrying her, her dad, and their luggage, she was doing it on an empty stomach. I hope she gains lots of support and help in the future from this.

10 thoughts on “A Truly Impressive Cross-India Bike Trip

    1. I know! 170 km/day for seven days (it was 1,200 km – though that’s still huge!) is a huge amount. Twice in my life I have biked a little over 170 km. During those rides I had a relatively light bike with many gears to make the travel easier. In both cases I ate an additional 3000-4000 calories. She faced nearly every possible challenge and STILL made it. The longest bike ride I did ever was with my son (who was helping on a tandem bike). We did 1,500 kilometres and took nineteen days and had six rest days on top of that along the way. I am really amazed.

    1. It truly is from all the news I’m seeing here. There is such a contrast now in nearly every country. Those who were doing reasonably well are often managing well in the lockdown but those who were already vulnerable are suffering even more than before. I hope this is resolved soon and we don’t forget to help the needy even after the lockdown is behind us.

    1. It really is. I can’t even imagine. I know what it takes to ride 100 miles in one day *once* and it is no small feat on a lightweight bicycle with many gears. But to do it with few gears, a heavy frame, luggage and a second person? As you say, that shows the power of love and determination.

      1. I feel the same way. But love and necessity are powerful motivators. I’m not sure I could do even 2-3 100 mile days in a row but if my family’s life depended on it? I am almost sure I could find it in me.

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