Indian Coastal Cycling Expedition – What Next? Eat, Sleep, Ride….Repeat!
They say that before you embark on any new venture (in our case adventure) always find your WHY. The HOW will find itself.
As Simon Sinek says in his book Find Your Why :
Our WHY is our purpose, cause or belief—the driving force behind everything we do.
Our HOWs are the actions we take when we are at our natural best to bring our WHY to life.
Our WHATs are the tangible manifestation of our WHY, the actual work we do every day.”
Every one of us has a WHY, a deep-seated purpose, cause or belief that is the source of our passion and inspiration.
… Simon Sinek
What is our WHY?
Our WHY of the Indian Coastal Cycling Expedition is to spread awareness of :
- Sustainable travel (#burnfatnotfuel)
- Hazards of plastic pollution along the coastline.
How are the next legs different from the Mumbai – Goa leg?
With the first leg of the Indian Coastal Cycling Expedition under the belt, our minds are already racing towards the remaining three legs that will cover a herculean distance of 6,000 odd kilometers.
The first leg that ran from Mumbai to Goa was a cakewalk (well almost, in retrospect).
It was a credit-card bike ride. (It is a ‘Credit-card tour’ when you stay in hotels and eat in restaurants in the bicycle touring parlance.) But, for our next legs, we aim to keep our costs low. The last thing we want is to abandon the expedition for being cash strapped.
As this expedition is self-funded, we have decided to make it self-sustaining as well.
Let’s answer some of the questions that come up with this choice!
How do we become Self-sustaining?
Well, we do not stay in motels, we do not eat in restaurants. Exceptions being the days when we need to reorganize, maintain bicycles, and mandatory rest.
We would try to limit it to the least. Yet, the hotel/ motel stays would be approximately once in ten days. These could also be during extended stopovers for maintenance and replenishment. (End or midway as the need arises).
So where do we Stay?
Not staying in hotels/motels means we would camp each night and wrap up in the morning, leaving no trace behind. (How exciting would that be!?)
Most of my co-riders also are high altitude trekkers, so they are not averse to staying in tents.
We are now identifying suitable tents for the camps. But where camping may not work, we would need alternative arrangements.
What about food?
We need fuel! Keeping that in mind, we need energy in the form of Carbs and Proteins. We need to feed ourselves well on the ride. Being a self-sustainable ride, we will have to plan for our catering provision on the go.
We will carry our cooking gear and cook all our three meals using the available raw materials.
Who will carry all this extra weight?
To keep the sense of adventure real, we will carry all our camping and cooking gear (and of course waste till we can responsibly dispose it off) with us. We have no support team /vehicle following us.
We did our first leg on MTB’s. Now, we need good reliable cycles, capable of doing the long distances with loads mounted on them. (Though not necessary, we do not wish to skimp on this most important resource of the expedition).
We researched for good touring bikes that fit our budget. The book ‘Bicycle Touring Blueprint’ by Darren Alf came in handy in more ways than one! Do visit his site www.bicycletrouringpro.com, it has a wealth of information therein!
I zeroed in on the Fuji Touring Disc (Anthracite limited edition), while my co-riders chose the Marin Four Corners.
Our challenges on the journey ahead:
- We would be lugging almost double that weight of our first leg.
- We would be on the road for much longer during the next legs.
- Our machines would need upgrades to withstand the rigors of longer rides and distances.
- Last but not least, this for some of us is once in a lifetime trip, so we do have plans for some good sightseeing along the coast!
This all called for meticulous planning and budgeting.
Thus started our virtual and in-person meetings (as and when possible, with the COVID Scenario) to chalk out the route plan, shelter, and catering arrangements.
So, how prepared are we by the end of June?
The entire route plan for the legs is ready. We used Google earth and the Gaia GPS programs to map our routes and pit stops.
The Gaia App where we got a detailed elevation of the road proved to be especially useful in this exercise. This helped us to chart the route realistically.
Again, as done in leg one, we would be hugging the coastline for most of the journey. We will deviate inland only when needed. (River and creek crossings and prohibited areas)
With the cycles now in possession, we have commenced our practice rides on them. For the next four months, we would fine-tune them and ourselves for the extended saddle time!
Let’s talk numbers!
Leg 1 – Mumbai Goa – completed
Leg 2 – Goa – Kanyakumari 18 days,
Leg 3 – Kanyakumari – Kolkata 42 days,
Leg 4 – Lakhpat – Mumbai 48 days,
Total 101 days for the three remaining legs if done in a single go.
Though this is a provisional plan, we may add in a few days to do local sightseeing closer to the commencement date. As of now, our planned start date is around the last week of November.
We will be traversing a total of 6,179.4 kilometers in the remaining three legs. For all four legs combined it would be 6849.4 kilometers.
The cumulative ascent of next three legs will be a whopping 29,368 meters. (Equal to Climbing the Mt. Everest 3 times!) and of all four legs combined it would be 37,446 meters
We aim to keep the costs as low as possible in the range of INR 1,500 to INR 2,000 / person per day.
This in itself is no less than the actual expedition, to see where we could crash on the costs along with building the network and garner local support.
As I pen this article, we are working meticulously on our costs and budgets, logistics arrangements, and support.
All in all, it is a fun exercise keeping us focused on the end goal of traversing the entire Indian coast on bicycles.
So, what’s the big deal?
Well, nothing much, just that we need to prepare harder and push our limits more. (That was one of the learnings from the first leg!)
Now, it’s more than pedaling; it’s balancing our taan, maan, and dhan (Body, Mind, and Money!) to make this expedition a success.
We now just pray that this whole COVID scenario calms down, and all are restored with best of their health, and the world comes back to a New Normal with free travel being permitted without restriction!
Why do I write all this before I do it?
Well, I strongly believe that if you keep your vision within you, it may remain a figment of imagination…only when you verbalise your vision, does it become actionable…
And hence the purpose of this blog!
If you have not read the blogs on the learnings of the first leg, I have given links below. Do read them!