At 60 I was still in the mire of the corporate world with several years to go, when I took stock of my life. Fitness and the outdoors, photography, chess, writing, and things spiritual were among many things in the bucket list.
On a cold winter morning in Delhi, I set off on my first cycle ride in over forty years. I gingerly cycled along the roads near my house and dismounted when anything appeared before me. My first ride was a few kilometres of hesitant cycling but it felt good. Modest rides of around 20 kilometres on the highway nearby, a couple of days each week followed, till I joined a group of cyclists. That began a long and fruitful association.
These cyclists opened the doors of fitness and adventure for me. I progressed from Sunday rides of 45 kilometres, to intercity rides over three or four days, to the ultra-cycling Desert 500 events in Rajasthan. On the first Desert 500 event, I entered for the 250 km ride, plagued with doubts about my credentials. I stopped cycling in pitch darkness 50 kilometres before the finish line. The following year with greater resolve I completed the 250 kms ride with loads of pride and satisfaction.
At the urging of my cycling buddies, I took on a personal trainer who put me through the paces of strength and flexibility training three times a week. Sustained effort got me reasonably fit as I responded to the call of the wild.
In January 2019 at 70, I took on a challenging endeavour that many thought was foolish of me. I cycled from Chennai to New Delhi, a distance of about 3000 kms, in under two months to draw attention to the critical needs of the elderly and to celebrate active ageing. The cyclothon, thanks to HelpAge India, was memorable and satisfying.
What next? The spirit of challenge and adventure burns just as brightly as before and fresh goals and aspirations beckon.
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