1,700km, 84 hours: How this Pune group fought all odds to cycle from Konark to Pune in 13 days
“During the expedition, we were exposed to the different foods, cultures and habits of our country. It is amazing to see the varied cultures of our country. We crossed five states in 10 days and each state gave us its own memorable moments,” says Kumar, one of the members of Bhraman Group.pune Updated: Jan 20, 2018 22:17 IST
For 50-year-old Varsha Barje, the new year began with a new hope and inspiration. She, along with nine others, travelled across five states and covered 1,700 km as part of a cycling expedition by Bhraman Group from Bhubaneshwar to Hyderabad to Pune that was planned from December 23 to January 4. The plan included 84 hours of cycling in 13 days. This was her first expedition and Varsha can’t stop talking about her experiences. The idea was to teach the important aspects of safe cycling to participants and create awareness on ‘go green’ initiatives.
Kumar Upadhyay, 35, a member of the group, said, “We are a fairly new group in Pune and last year, we went on an expedition from Kanyakumari to Pune. We are an enthusiastic lot that believes in protecting our environment and promoting green initiatives. Through this expedition, we aim to create awareness about the need for keeping our planet green and clean.”
The group decided to undertake the expedition six months ago and planned the entire trip. They left from Konark on December 23, 2017. “We cycled 150 km daily, taking around eight hours. The highest distance we travelled in a day was 225 km. During the expedition, we were exposed to the different foods, cultures and habits of our country. It is amazing to see the varied cultures of our country. We crossed five states in 10 days and each state gave us its own memorable moments,” said Kumar.
For Varsha, this was an experience which she will cherish all her life. At first, she was skeptical of joining the group, however, her husband Prasad and son Pranav encouraged her. “My son (22) is a cycle enthusiast and is the one who motivates me. He guided me through the process and helped me gain confidence. I am glad I listened to him and went for it. The experience cannot be expressed in words. It involved a lot of hard work but the satisfaction and contentment after each ride pushes you to do more.”
The participating members included Devendra Akolkar (44), Ravindra Akolkar (45), Sreedhar Bhat (43), Vandana Bhat (40), Prasad Barje (53), Varsha Barje (50), Gurudas Patil (33), Sushil Hanavate (35) and Vidya Hanavate (34).
Kumar added that the roads were an obstacle when they exited Karnataka and entered Maharashtra. “People around were so helpful and accommodating that we never left like outsiders. In fact, we felt more at home in other states than our own. The roads in the villages of Odisha too are way better than our city roads,” Kumar added.