Ganesh Nayak found his calling in something totlly out of the box. He developed
an interest in cycling and quit his earlier job to cycle around India. His attempt to
focus an health and fitness ultimately transformed into solo expeditions, as he
wheeled his bicycle into srinagar, and further went to an to cover Ladakh,
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Nepal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, the grulling mountain circuits is the Himalayas, the
Ring Road in Iceland, the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan and Kyrgzstan. During the
travels he was chased by monekys, saw snow loepards and met similar sponaneous
He currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Instrumentation and
Control Engineering, Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Manipal. Apart from a Master's
degree in Digital Electronics he has also earned a diploma in Ourdoor Education from
National Outdoor Leadership School, USA. His research interest is in the field of Outdoor
Education. When he is not preparing for his next bicyle tour, he is facilitating outdoor
experiences to inculate leadership and enviornmental stearship amongst his students
at MIT, Manipal.
I first met Ganesh at our local bike shop, The Crankmeister Bicycle works, in Bangalore.
He was a lanky youngster who was working as the new apprentice guy than meets the eye.
Sure enough, I learned that he studied in Manipal Institute of well-educated man working as
an machaanic in a cycle shop would seem rather strange. For me, it showed his prepredness
and his thirst for knowlwdge. He was planning to go on a self-supported bicycle tour in about
six months from then in equip himself with the knowledge and skills that would enable him to
take care of himself and his bicycle for that tour.
As we talked more, his story reminded me how seemingly simple choices that we make on a daily
basis dictate the course of our lives. That split second hesitation and the simple choice that could
go wither way, when you find yourself, for the first time, in a circle of friends sharing a drag from
a cigatte, is a good example. If that hesitation make you to just pass that tiny glowing stick of
nicotine without partaking in it, you would perhaps manage to escape the hold that the tiny stick
could have on the rest of your life. That is not a one-time choice though. You have to make that
choice every time you find youself in that peer group exerting that invisible and yet a very strong
peer pressure on you. It was precisely that peer pressure and the choice that ganesh pressure
hat made him a victim of addiction that he fought for twelve long years.
The bitter battle he had to fight with himself to get rid of that addiction is very relatable for many
of us. How he replaced that debilitating habit with a rejuvenating habit of cycling and went from
not being able to move past even a few streets to becoming fit enough to scale that Himalayas,
quite literally, is an inspirational story.
His story connected with me at a very personal level. Ten years ago, when I was fighting ill health
and obesity, it was cycling that saved me. It not only helped me lose 25 kgs and lead a healthy active
lifestyle, but it also changed my life forever. I now help other likes me as well as youngsters who wants
to get better in the sports of cycling.
Travel is the only thig that makes you richer, they say. As an extention, i think travelling on a cycle
makes you healthy,waelthy and wise. When i Began to follow Ganesh and his journey in himalayas
through the pictures and descriptions he shared on social media, I throughly enjoy being part of his
adventure. But, I longed for more. I wanted to see everything that he saw and feel everything he
experienced. While my own trip to the Himalayas is still on my bucket list, this book gave me a
great opportunity to experience his adventurous journey vicariously.
This is a great book for not only be inspired by his journey but also to be part of his adventure and
experience the majestic Himalayas through his eyes. Sharing his adventure only resolve to tick the
Himalayas off my checklist all that much stronger.
On 23 December 2012 i Quit smoking! Now, this was not one of those quits that Mark Twain had
famously quipped about, you know the one in which he says, "Quitting smoking is the easiest thing
in the world, I have done it million of times!"
After a decade of smoking, I was feeling the ill-effects at every step. I was unable to climb up a flight
of stairs without running uot of breath. Alan Watts said," The attitude of faith is to let go, and be open
to the truth, whatever it might be."
i was 31 years old
i was in the worst shape of my life.
The truth was that I was addicted to smoking.
The truth was that it would suck all life out me, if I did not act.
Within a week of quitting smoking, I went out and purchased a bicycle. I remember, rather vividly
the first ride I took on that bike. I was in such a poor state then, I could not even ride it to the end
of the road. My things were screaming, my head reeling. I perserved. Slowly as my breathing
improved, I was able to sustain myself for a day, six times a week. In that way I progressed to
hour long rides around Manipal. The joy of feeling my body come back to life and respond to the
little challenges that I was throwing at it was a liberating experience. It boosted my confidence and
made me dream again. Yes, there were dreams. And dreams came hope; hope for a better tommorrow.
Over the next six months, I rode my bicycle regularly, come rain or shine. In the evening, after work,
I got myself involved in the technicalities of a bicycle by working alongside the mechanics at St Antony
Bucycle Works, Udupi. At the end of these six months, I had three things working for me- good aerobic
fitness, asound working knowledge of a bicycle and enough in the bank.
Around this time, I started reading on long distance and expedition bicycling; people
taking trips around the world, into the mountains, on frozen rivers and into deserts.
What amazed me was that these were not trained athletes - they were regular people
with regular jobs, like you and me; school teachers, cooks, engineers, doctors,
students. Reading about their ordinary lives, it was unimaginable that they were
capable of doing such extraordinary things on a bicycle. I was inspired!
I was ready to push my limits on the bicycle. The beat up Hercules on which I had
started on had done its job. I needed a bicycle that would not break down so often.
I needed a bicycle that would be in it for the long haul. Afler considerable research,
I went to Bangalore and purchased a Surly, their aptly named Long Haul Trucker
(LHT) model. When my mother found a copy of the check I had made out to Happy
Earth Enterprises LLP for 1,05,000 rupees, a week after I had acquired the shiny
LHT, she was shell shocked to find out that the new bicycle standing silently and
elegantly in the porch had cost that much. She accosted me and asked me to justify
such flippant behaviour! I calmly told her that I wanted to see how far I could ride
on it, maybe even climb up Agumbe on it.
"You can buy a bus ticket for 60 rupees and they will take you to Agumbe in less
than two hours. Why spend a lakh and struggle so hard?" She quipped. i was
stumped! If at home, my mother could not accept it, then imagine the world! I was
quickly realizing that the life as a dreamer was not going to be an easy one.
But I had stars in my eyes, and I was eager to see how far I could go on my own
power. That was a good enough reason for me. After all, I was not doing this for my
mother nor for my professors or for anyone else. I was doing this tor me. So, I set
my eyes on Agumbe and I went and climbed it. Cycling 45 kms from Manipal one
morning, reaching Someshwara and cycling the 10 kms to the top. At that moment,
standing on top of that hill at Agumbe, everything seemed possible!
The feeling of victory after all the struggles, doubts and all the training left me
exhilarated. But, I was left wanting more of the connection I felt — with the environment,
with the people, but mostly myself. I felt more alive than I had in more than a decade.
I came back with the intention of doing longer rides around the Western Ghats. To
realize this, I had to increase the number of miles I was cycling. This meant putting
in more time on the saddle. Working a full time job at a demanding start up meant
that the only assured time I had was before my boss woke up. Over the next two
months, each week I would wake up fifteen minutes earlier. At the end of two months
I was waking up at 4 am. By 4:30 am, I was out the door and cycling. I would cycle
till 6:30 am, putting in around 42 to 45 kms each day. I would continue training by
running 2 kms to the Department of Yoga at Kasturba Medical College (KMC), do a
forty-five minute yoga session and end my morning workout with a 2 km walk back
home. This was followed by a full day’s digital engineering work. The evenings were
spent running, doing body weight exercises and walking. During my whole training,
I never stepped into a gym, never had a personal trainer and never took a day off
of work. This was largely thanks to my yoga guru’s wise words "Listen to your own
body, it will tell you all you need to do."
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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