Dec 15, 2011

Cycle Ahoy!

So what does a cyclist in the Sub-Continent do around December every year?

No, not do the carol. 
But do the Tour Of Nilgiris.

I've been associated with TfN for 3 out of the 4 years it's been around. As a 'newb', a volunteer, as part of the Support staff, and as the editor for a tour that is widely touted as India's answer to the Tour de France, I've been able to experience and marvel how so many people come together to pull off a logistical trick up their sleeve. Some of them barely rest as the dates approach.

As a cyclist, TfN has come to symbolize what you must be a part of. 
It may not have a Lance Armstrong or an ESPN trailing it's every rider, but it has definitely built up a reputation, much of it word of mouth, of being the only day tour in Asia that is as well planned with even the tiniest detail looked into and fine tuned until the last minute. 

Though participation isn't free , what is impressive is how all of the proceeds go towards the cause of the organizing NGO- RideACycle Foundation, a not for profit organisation that advocates use of cycles as a viable and nature friendly mode of daily transportation, apart from the many many benefits cycling on a daily basis has on the human body.

Supported by cycle manufacturer- TI Cycles (makers of the BSA brand of cycles), TfN has grown by leaps and bounds and is a brand of itself. Like long lost sons and daughters, cyclists across the world converge to to the southern city of Bangalore. Judging by the many 'centuries' of prep rides, camaraderie and the frenzied conversations that happen within the official google group, all the riders begin to know each other so well even before the first mile has been pedalled. 

The 'kick-off' is a thoroughly intoxicating event. 
So here's 70 odd cyclists, with many hundred miles on their cyclo computer, who have lived and breathed nothing but TfN for the better part of this year, some of whom would have flown half way across the world to ride through idyllic villages and nature reserves and forests.
Some of them are excited just being a part of the tour, some of them are here because they want to prove they can do this but most of them are here simply because TfN gives them something that most other tours can only wish - Nature so pristine, memories that will last a lifetime, experience that will you'll brag about for life and friends that will outlast your cycle. 

While a tour this size cannot expect to have riders coming back every year and while some of them may not come back, as 'alumni', every rider, participant and organiser take pride in being a part of the greatest tour in India. 

The BSA TfN. I did it!
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