Jaipur: Twenty-eight-year-old Ankit Arora simply did what his heart told him – quit his Chartered Accountancy course mid-way, travel to Jaipur, took up a content writing job and then took off on his cycle. Travelling through fields, dusty beaten tracks, and cities after cities, Ankit, the cyclist fed his soul, what it wanted – travel and tales.
“It was difficult call. But I knew I had to. This was all I wanted to do – travel, meet people and write,” says Ankit, who is all set to embark on a new journey soon. This time he has his eye set on making it to the Guinness World Record, by traversing 21000 kilometres in straight 150 days. Pedaling through Indian states, which often lack cycling tracks, is nothing new for this Ajmer boy.
“Last year, I had made it to the India Book of Records, by travelling 14000 kilometres. Prior to that I had been awarded by a French Club for covering about 600 kilometres under their banner, then I had travelled from India Gate to the Wagah Border,” he reveals.
But then, how easy or difficult is it to travel this huge a distance on bicycle? “I love cycling, so it’s not stressful for me. I carry minimal stuff with me. Just the basics, is what I have in my travel bag. But yes, I have solar panel mounted at the back of my cycle. I use it for charging my camera and cell phone. For food, I primarily depend on the local hosts, whom I connect with before embarking on the journey. This is primarily because, I travel on a shoe-string budget,” he says while answering the question.
But the hardship faced doesn’t deter him from pursuing his dreams, nor does he regret having left a promising career to be what he is today. “Like last year, this time too, I have very few sponsors. A couple friends have helped me. But that doesn’t stop me from embarking on this journey, which will be flagged off tomorrow. I am in touch with the cycling communities of my selected cities. They have promised to host me,” he adds. Apart from his passion to cycle, it’s the stories that he gets, while travelling that lures him to take this annual risk. “I am a storyteller. I can’t let go this opportunity of meeting people, knowing their stories and then passing them off,” he says candidly.
During these 150 days of rigorous pedaling, Ankit will be touching upon all 29 Indian states and 7 Union Territories. He will even be cycling to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. And this time he has an agenda – uniting humans through stories that he gets while travelling, recording their indigenous practices, highlighting the tribal India and their sports. He even plans to visit the local school, meet students and share his experiences with them. And of course, with a solar panel atop his cycle, he definitely will be telling people – Save Energy, Go Green. So, are you ready to host this champion cyclist, when he is in your city?