The Cycling Dream – Mohit kapoorOctober 28, 2016
There is no better way to see India than on a bicycle. A teenager decides to precisely do that.
His father was willing to buy him a scooter. But he wanted a bicycle to be free from petrol and other things.
Meet myself Mohit Kapoor, a Cycle enthusiast and a traveller by heart. I had my way and thereafter started his journey to explore Rajasthan. But that was not enough. After I finally got a bicycle, I decided to travel from Kashmir to Kanyakumari But had no money. With a will made of metal like bicycle, and a heart large enough to accommodate every emotion, I set off on journey that took me from the Rohtang Pass near Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Vivekanand Rock Memorial at the Southernmost point of India.
I was inspired to leave home and do something unique at the age of 16 — a solo trip across India from Manali to Kanyakumari that too on a bicycle. Alone, without money or a sponsor, to prepare for the trip, I sold my cell phone to arrange equipment for his tour including a travel bag, tickets and a bicycle. Finding food and shelters at Gurudwaras and Temples during this ride I conquered the challenge that I had set for myself and lived a dream that I chased all alone.
Pedalling from Manali to Kanyakumari in less than a month and then sitting on the last rock on India, touching the seagreen water of the India Ocean, I encountered the good, the bad, and the beautiful of India. In the second and concluding part of his odyssey, the boy becomes a man, makes new friends and comes to know himself through his bicycle, a strong pair of legs, a will of steel, and a heart large enough to accommodate every emotion.
Self-Inspired that I was, so I again decided to venture on my second cycle expedition all alone.. (yes again!!)
To map the region of Leh-Ladakh on one saddle and two pedals. I lived this dream too with the same fervour.
After having pedalled to the length and breadth of my own country India on bicycle I felt I had to learn a lot from the roads I travelled. So I decided to take a break after high school to meet people from different places.
It started with a dream to be a chef. I had grown up devouring food shows on TV and always wanted to visit Middle East. But sadly that was out as it meant having to cycle through Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not only was it dangerous, my parents would have scuttled my plans even before I could take off. I then decided to plan my ride to South East Asia via The Great Himalayas. That would kill two birds with one stone – not only
would the ride be great through some of the most amazing places on Earth, alongside I would be
able to immerse myself in culinary cultures peculiarly different to a Rajasthani lad as chalk and cheese.
So now for the new endeavour I’ve planned to pedal transnational regions. Yeah I’ll pedalling through the 9 countries of south-east Asia which are, India- Nepal- Bhutan- Myanmar – Thailand- Laos- Cambodia- Vietnam- Malaysia. To flavour it up I have designed it to fulfil my life long dream. I have always dreamed of becoming a chef, as being a foodie it’s quite obvious enough. So the planned cycle expedition includes, along with seeing landscapes, learning and indulging in the famous foods & traditional tastes of every region in my route. I can’t think of anything better than this to live my dream. This way I’ll be gratifying my soul by traversing through spectacular landscapes and also my tastes buds by indulging in delicious foodstuffs.
In order to learn and experience culinary art I was not familiar with. It was hard to explain it to my parents about my decision, to take a break before I joined college and ride on a bicycle for a year. It took me five months to satisfy their queries, and convince them that my journey would initially be a learning process, so essential for a young man on the cusp of adulthood. I had grown up devouring food shows on TV and always desired to visit Middle East. But sadly that was out as it meant having to cycle through Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not only was it dangerous, my parents would have scuttled my plans even before I could take off. I then decided to plan my ride to South East Asia via The Great Himalayas. That would be killing two birds with one stone – not only would the ride be great through some of the most amazing places on Earth, alongside I would be able to immerse myself in culinary cultures peculiarly different to a Rajasthani lad as chalk and cheese. Having planned my dream ride to the last detail, I hit my first pothole – Where would the money come from? I started to look for sponsors. I still remember, I met many people from different companies for help. I use to hitch-hike as I did not have enough money to buy tickets. And most of the time I thought people would loosen their purse strings to support a noble venture – I earnestly thought so – but politely declined; fortunately, no one told me to take a hike! Again, I cruised back home with disappointment written all over on my face. Somehow, goodwill worked and I got sponsors for my trip, but no cash. I decided to set out anyway and see how I could manage and make my way on the road. Next morning I had lovely breakfast prepared by mom with lots of love and blessings for my continental adventure. After all, how many kids can be crazy enough to venture on a bicycle to unknown lands, into the world of diverse beauty and raw culinary art? For a rider, it is easy to cruise long distances with a destination or time limit. But here I was, taking off into the wild blue yonder with undefined destination or time. There was only a vague plan to see the world and learn to cook Nom hua chuoi or the banana-flower salad in Vietnam. It helped me, when some friends decided to ride along for the whole day; their camaraderie and good wishes gave me strength to reach Delhi where I was surprised to see a big welcome planned for me. There were around a 100 pedal pushers from the cycling community, who had assembled to cheer me on with Godspeed. There my jersey pocket became unexpectedly heavy – someone had slipped in an envelope containing Rs 3000 with a note that simply read: ‘Happy Journey!’ My eyes were filled with tears; I couldn’t even thank the wellwisher who dropped it in my pocket as I did not know who it was. Next day, with my heart full of emotions, I left Delhi and reached Karnal toll by night.
People would stop me and ask where I was heading. After a long conversation and delicious dinner, which one of them served, I camped there and slept. The next day I crossed Ambala, decided to leave the highway and take the back roads. The ride was more interesting than I expected. A lady stopped me and asked me to spend sometime with her family – she was the wife of ‘mukhiya’ of that village. I was lucky to witness a gram panchayat meeting and taste some local delicacies she had prepared for me. On my way to Kullu, I met with an accident and lost my only jacket that I was carrying. I reached Manali to call my friend and asked him to lend me his winter wear as I did not have enough money to buy a new jacket. I stayed in a backpacker hostel of a small village called ‘Jagatshukh’ where I met people from different countries. We all stayed up to sail through the starry night having fun. My breakfast was not as I was used to have back at home. But I relished some fresh apples from the tree nearby. I trekked by the waterfall and visited a village next door to learn an interesting way to cook one of the local cuisine. After my stay there for a while, my journey in India ended in Jagatsukh. I left for Spiti valley. An mazing part of the other world! And further I’ll be entering into Nepal and Bhutan and furthermore into the South East Asia.
Water fall in himachal.
If You want to support my dream pleas visit https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/munchingonsaddle
or Contact me on facebook.