Monday, 30th October 2017

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Fighting odds, cyclist sets record in Northeast

Woman covers 7 states in 20 days

By Abdul Gani in Guwahati
  • Published 22.04.19, 2:44 AM
  • Updated 22.04.19, 2:44 AM
  • 2 mins read
Pinal Parlekar poses with a group of kids (Pinal Parlekar)

Vadodara’s Pinal Parlekar became the first woman to cover the capitals of seven sister states by cycling in 20 days under the Swasth Bharat theme, recently announced by the Indian Achiever Book of Records.

Parlekar braved the challenges after being deserted by her teammates to complete the expedition — Mission 7 sister states on wheels — in January this year.

“It was satisfactory and I’m extremely happy to have accomplished it. Prior to my expedition, I had just heard about Northeast India as a very beautiful and unexplored place with rich culture, diversity and sparse pollution. We wanted to connect the Northeast with the rest of India under the one India one nation theme and explore the region. We also wanted to meet the people there besides inspiring the youth through this expedition with the goal of Swasth Bharat,” an elated Parlekar told The Telegraph.

Parlekar along with her six-member team started from Assam state zoo in Guwahati on December 15, 2018, and finished the expedition on January 3, 2019, at the same venue covering a distance of 2,104.5km across all the northeastern states.

The cyclist takes a break during her expedition
The cyclist takes a break during her expedition (Pinal Parlekar)

The route was Guwahati, Shillong, Agartala, Aizawl, Imphal, Kohima, Itanagar and then back to Guwahati.

Apart from the terrain, Parlekar had to face tremendous difficulties starting from witnessing a fellow rider meeting with an accident to senior members deserting her in the middle of the expedition.

Initially, there were four cyclists and two supporting members but on day 15, the team leader and other teammates left her at Bokajan forcing her to ride from Bokajan via Biswanath Chariali to Guwahati alone. On the last day, she rode 237.9km to reach Guwahati.

“It was terrible. On the second day itself, one of the riders in the team got seriously injured. But we stayed calm and composed to continue our journey. Everything seemed to be going according to plan but on day 15, the route was misjudged by two of my teammates which led to an argument. Finally, they left me at Bokajan the next morning. They even took all the cycles and the supporting vehicle. But I didn’t lose my passion and courage. Not for a single moment did I think of giving up as it was my dream to complete it anyhow,” Parlekar said.

She then started her ride alone and reached Guwahati in four days via Majuli and Biswanath Chariali.

“The experience of this cycling expedition taught me to be strong and determined in every situation,” Parlekar said.

After this successful expedition, this 29-year old Master of Engineering in digital communication wants to continue motivating people, especially girls and women, to participate in adventure sport.

“I think adventure sport is very important for personal growth,” she signed off.