Two Mumbaikars are set to cycle from India to Myanmar and Thailand to test their endurance levels
Over the last nine weeks, ad film director Prashant Madan (39) and entrepreneur Chidambaram Vijaykumar (45) have been cycling 750km a week and undergoing strength training in a gym. After all, they are gearing up for a momentous journey.
Come February 20, Madan and Vijaykumar will cycle over 60 days, covering 6,000km from India to Myanmar and Thailand. Titled Sixty Days of Wonder, the journey follows from their 2015 project, Two Feet and a Dream, where photographer Aanchal Madan (Prashant’s wife) walked 582km from Mumbai to Goa. The Madans undertake such road journeys under the banner, The Audacious Project. “The projects we choose take us out of our comfort zones, and tests us physically and mentally,” says Prashant.
Being a cycling enthusiast, Prashant has undertaken cycling journeys along the Pune-Bangalore Highway and the North-South Goa corridor in the past. “Cycling has a non-complicated vibe that attracts me to it. Being on the road, with the wind in my face and the whirr of the wheels is as perfect as it can get. It’s a reminder to draw pleasure from the simple things in life,” he says.
The route they travel will pass through several states such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, en route Myanmar and Thailand. “We chose this route as it features breathtaking landscapes. Also, this trip has not been attempted on a bicycle before,” says Prashant.
While Prashant was managing the logistics for the 2015 expedition, this time Aanchal will be travelling in a support car, managing the logistics, photography and social media.
As part of the research, the Madans and Vijaykumar spoke with people who travelled along the route on motorbikes, to check about border formalities, road conditions, accommodation and safety. They also spoke to experts in endurance sports to understand the training required to attempt such an expedition.
Some of the biggest challenges along the way will be heat and safety, says Prashant. “We will encounter increasing temperatures for a few hours every afternoon and come across hilly terrain in North-East India and between the Myanmar-Thailand border. Also, a cyclist can be the lowest on people’s minds when it comes to road etiquette; while our support car will provide a blanket of security, we’ll have to be careful with highway traffic.”
So far, the group is scouting for sponsors and the initiative is self-funded. They wouldn’t have it any other way. “We’d rather be doing this than paying EMIs on a house that overlooks a noisy road and feels like a burden we have to bear,” says Prashant.
Keep track of Sixty Days of Wonder’s journey on facebook.com/theaudaciousproject