INDIA: While lockdown due to the COVID-19 was a disastrous phase, it was also a learning experience for many. But for Indranil Roy, it turned out to be an enthralling experience, when unintentionally he designed his journey of the pandemic, riding on his cycle to unknown places throughout. Gurugram resident Indranil Roy has been exploring the length and breadth of India on his Rockrider ST100.
It has been a decade now since Indranil started solo backpacking, and doing so, he has covered most of the remote parts of the country and Southeast Asia. In June 2020, he started regular cycling and very unknowingly merged his style of travel with cycling.
“It all started on a fine November evening while I was sitting in my cottage in Almora, thought of why not push my limits and see how far can I ride,” Indranil told Transcontinental Times. Apart from being a beginner cyclist, this was the first time Indranil was riding a long distance. He decided to cover 500 km in Kumaon, starting from Almora to Chaukori, Munsiyari, and back from the Bageswar route.
Despite having no experience of riding in the hills and high altitude regions, from steep climbs to leopard-infested territory Indranil covered it all during his journey.
“During a forest crossing my headlight stopped working and a car guided me with its headlight. Just 30kms before Munsiyari my chain broke, I was stranded for two days meanwhile saved several cows from near-death by contacting local authorities,” said Indranil.
“To reach Munsiyari I had to cross the Kalamuni top with 14 bends and that certainly wasn’t easy. While taking the Bageshwar route back to Almora, my destiny was tested again with an extremely steep climb for a good 20kms after dusk until I reached a place called Shama. And as luck would guide me, the next morning I hiked up 4kms to see the mesmerizing Himalayan range which only a very few travelers must have seen from that place, a local secret,” said Indranil about his thrilling experience.
But, Indranil was still not satisfied with his endeavors. Last year, at the end of December, he went to Mumbai to cycle through Malshej Ghat, where he ended up taking wrong turns and rode a total of 700 km. A few days later, he planned to visit Goa and rode a few hundred kilometers. At around 30 km before the Goa border, he decided to ride till Cochin and also added Kanyakumari to his journey. Till now, Indranil has covered the entire Konkan and Malabar coast.
“Not even in my wildest imagination had I thought of this, but each time I have surprised my own self and been yearning for more. This year itself I plan to ride the entire length of the Ganga in both India and Bangladesh,” Indranil signed off.