Riding 60km a breeze for schoolgirl

All of 11, youngest member of cycling club raises the bar

By Jayesh Thaker in Jamshedpur
  • Published 16.10.17

Jamshedpur: Normally she plays chess with her dad on Sunday. But, on this Sunday, 11-year-old Bhuiyandih schoolgirl Aastha Bhuyan and her father, well-known chess coach Jayant Bhuyan, traded pawns for pedals.

The youngest of 147 members of the two-month-old Jamshedpur cycling club Steel Cyclos, Aastha, a Class V student of Carmel Junior College, rode 60km from Bistupur to Patamda and back on Sunday morning. The father-daughter duo joined around 50 other Steel Cyclos members and left Jamshedpur at 5.30am, and crossing Mango and Dimna, reached Patamda at 7.45am. The team rested for a while at a dhaba and resumed the ride at 8.15am and returned to Jamshedpur at 10.30am.

Like the adults in the team, the gutsy girl pedalled 30km on each side of the journey.

Reaching home, the "extremely tired" girl had lunch and fell fast asleep.

Speaking to this correspondent later in the afternoon, Aastha said she loved the entire trip, including the rigour of cycling 60km.

"I will never forget this journey. I cycled so much, had snacks with other members at a dhaba, and also played a lot with a baby goat in Patamda," Aastha, who also counts painting and sport climbing as her hobbies, said.

What did she love most about the trip? "That I could take up the challenge," she said.

Launched by management trainees of Tata Steel on August 31 this year in the presence of Everesters Bachendri Pal and Premlata Agarwal, Steel Cyclos began with 40 members, mostly Tata Steel management trainees.

But the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation-supported club now boasts of 147 members, including many non-Tata employees, and has become a lively platform to socialise, brainstorm ideas, make friends and, most importantly reduce carbon footprint and go green.

The club has a Facebook page for enrolling names. Interested persons can also visit TSAF. Membership is free.