The lure of nature and travel brings together the largest contingent for The Tour of Nilgiris
Tourists were pleasantly surprised to see 128 cyclists including eight women and 18 foreigners enthusiastically pedalling their expensive cycles along the picturesque roads of The Nilgiris this weekend. Aged between 18 to 60, these cyclists were chosen based on their health, previous achievements and inclination from among the many desirous applicants from all over the world for the 10th edition of ‘Tour of Nilgiris’ (TfN) conducted by Bengaluru-based RideACycle Foundation. Starting at Bengaluru, they pedalled their cycles through Mysuru and Madikeri in Karnataka and Sultan Bathery in Kerala.
The TfN began at Sultan Bathery and the cyclists pedalled up the hills through the 36 hairpin bends in Kallatty Ghat road and reached Ooty covering 103 km. On Friday, they pedalled 93 km up and down Ooty and Kodanad, which provides a captivating scenic attraction. While on Saturday the group cycled from Ooty to Manjoor and returned to Ooty covering 113 km. Marking the final day on Sunday, the 128 cyclists pedalled from Ooty through Gudalur to Mysuru – a distance of 171 km – to complete the TfN.
The overall cycling in this expedition touched around 1,000 km. “This is the largest contingent in our 10 editions of TfN. The participation of international and national achievers in cycling contests instilled a lot of confidence among many to pursue cycling activities,” said Tour Director Satish Belawadi.
Along for the ride
TfN placed India and the Nilgiris on global cycling map as many of the participants were from Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, USA and Russia. The celebrity cyclists included Alexi Grewal, Indian-American who won Gold Medal in road cycling in Olympics in 1984, Lt Col Srinivas Gokulnath who was India’s First Finisher in ‘Race Across America’ covering 5,000 km in 11 days and 18 hours.
Two Indian National Champions in various events—Naveen John and Kiran Kumar Raju—were also part of the ride. “We have been undertaking several initiatives to promote cycling among masses. We also have the satisfaction of giving back to the society through our riders who are riding for charity,” assistant tour director Badrinath Sastry shared.