“Dad, I want to cycle the world in my placement year”, I tell him as I half expect him to ask me to call again later when it’s not 4 am in India.
“Sure”, he says as I hang up hurriedly because I suddenly have something else on my mind.
5 minutes later I call him up again, and he picks it up, which he often does since he got to know about my night cycling adventures and a few misadventures linked with it.
“Alright. Dad, I want to cycle the world. AND make a record out of it”
“To be the fastest to do it”, I say without another thought and that’s it. Decision made. It’s happening.
The next day, when I wake up, I find some 10-12 links that dad sent me about several people cycling the world self supported. I smile to myself as I fully realise how lucky I am.
Fast forward a month and I’ve got a roughly planned route, a dream that’s larger than life and the determination to finish everything I start with from there and then.. And in spite of that the question I’m being asked is, “Are you sure?”
It’s around two months now that my LEL adventure had turned into a massive misadventure. My knee reminds me of that. Every damned day. Taking every care I can, I still choose to train over taking a complete rest. I’m the soul who can never rest. And I’m the kid who can never take it easy. The kind Thirsk and Barnard Castle controllers during LEL would completely agree with this. That’s just how sure I am on doing this record attempt on cycling the world. I believe that I CAN and if I can’t then I’ll train my ass off to be able to do it. So, the whole point is, I know what I’m doing. So If I see myself struggling and knowing I’m too fucked to continue, I’ll be knowing what I’m doing when I choose to continue. So for those of you who think this is very wrong, let’s talk about it, Because, I can completely explain. Let me tell you a story.
In Easter 2017, I decided to cycle to London and then to John O’Groats, from Bournemouth. I lost my way and ended up at Bentley, near Farnham where I met an absolutely delightful family who didn’t just put me up for the night and feed me but also drove me to and from Halfords to buy my broken bike pump. I left their house around midday that day. With such experiences on the very beginning of my journey, I knew nothing could go wrong all the way until I reach the other end of Scotland. I didn’t have a lot of money. Neither did I know how to fix my own brakes. Or most of the bike parts except changing tubes. I only knew the destination- not even how to get there. Not being one of those super-patient people, who wait around to find partner in order to go on an adventure, I choose to go on my own adventures and brave them all alone.
Let me add the misadventures though. At Bolton, I found myself freezing in the dark as I, in spite of having an amazing day on the bike, lost my directions to a motel that was on a motorway. So I went wherever locals guided me and ended up near a reservoir at Rivington where I found myself screaming for help. I’m not kidding, but I’ve never felt as cold as that evening..not even at Khardung La. I knocked on a door at the hall barn where I could see the only construction with lights switched on. They let me stay at theirs, for the easter weekend and to my surprise, everybody working there knew what I was up to, the next day! At Innerleithen, an over-enthusiastic, I would say JUST LIKE ME, mountain biker hosted my stay, food, drinks, bike rent, etc and took me for mountain biking in the Glentress trails. She, unfortunately, is no more, but let me tell you one thing she had told me at that time,
“You’ve seen the best things and met the best people, because you dared to make some mistakes and just endure a little more every time”
The point of telling this whole thing is that, I might come across as self-destroying or something as such, but I really know when I’m about to actually fuck up or when I do, I believe in my instincts more than anything else and if those instincts have managed to keep me alive over my misadventures so far and show the whole of the UK on my bike, then this World Tour is a very very planned adventure, in comparison. And it’s the same instinct that tells me that I would not turn back.
Now, what’s my preparation for undertaking something this big?
I would say, I’m cycling everyday, trying my best to get faster and fitter. In order to fix my knee and not break that again, I’m taping it to keep it together and trying to strengthen it so as to not dislocate it all over again. I’ve got a route planned which is still subject to changes according to the terrain and what’ll suit better in terms of travelling unsupported.
What I’m NOT prepared with is money. I’ve put up a fundraising website and all I’ve had so far is a single donation. That too from a good friend. So basically, it’s pretty discouraging that I’ve got no financial backup as I train. I have applied for sponsorships and support that I haven’t heard back from.
I wouldn’t say anything is impossible, but from getting visas to getting food, everything is gonna need some money. For everything that’s untold and hence, unheard, I think money is what we don’t talk out loud about when we discuss things like travelling the world or breaking a world record. And trust me, I’m trying pretty hard to get everything together, manage my personal finances and studies and training to SMASH the record when I go hard at it.
My estimated budget is £10000 and I’ve put up a GoFundMe link : https://www.gofundme.com/not-scared-anymore
Do check it out and help me out with this. If you’ve got any contacts or references from the areas that I’ll be passing through, do get them in touch with me so that I can plan ahead. Here’s the link to the details of about the record : https://www.vedangikulkarni.com/round-the-world-2018
If you think any other donations can be made in terms of equipment, please do get in touch.
This is the time when I really do need help!