On Sunday, April 3, Mirza Saaib Beg and Pranay Mohanty completed a 3000km, Bombay-Pune-Hyderabad-Bengaluru-Kochi-Goa-Pune-Bombay cycle trip. They completed it an incredible thirteen days.
The goal of this epic trip was to raise funds for financially-strapped students studying in India’s top law schools. Mirza, a lawyer at the Security and Exchange Board of India, has seen firsthand how difficult to study law while also worrying about finances. So, for the past few months he raised Rs 26 lakhs from corporate sponsors as well as the Rotary Club of Worli.
You might be asking, “Why don’t sponsors simply give him the money rather than make him go through this gruelling trip?” Mirza’s answer is that the trip is a spectacle– in addition to the large online audience it attracts, wherever the cyclists stop, they attract a large crowd of students. For sponsors like Killer Jeans, supporting the ride is not just an act of charity, but is also part of their marketing efforts.
He’s done this before — in August 2015, he and Pranay cycled from Bombay to Ahmedabad and back to raise money for a flood-damaged orphanage in Srinigar.
As for the ride itself, going 3000km in thirteen days, and that too through India in the summer, is an incredible feat. At one point outside of Hyderabad, the daytime temperature reached 42 C/ 107 F. To avoid this heat, the pair cycled at night as much as possible, which meant erratic sleep throughout the trip.
Along the way, many asked how to train for such a long ride. Mirza’s answer: cycle to work. Nearly every day, Mirza cycles from his home to his office in Bandra Kurla Complex. He is a big advocate of commuting via bicycle. Mumbai, he says, is a surprisingly good cycling city. The roads are flat, the weather is predictable (i.e. rain only from June-September), and the traffic is manageable after you get used to it. He keeps a fresh clothes in the office, so his colleagues don’t complain. “If I can cycle to work at SEBI, a government office, then anyone can do it,” he says.
Here is a video about the challenges of night riding:
A videos documenting the first twenty four hours of the ride:
Another goal of this trip was to promote long distance cycling in India. This short video A video about climbing Bhor Ghat highlights one of the more challenging and rewarding rides outside of Mumbai.