24 hours and counting…!

Day 10 proves to be our most epic day yet as our fiery lady surmounts the insurmountable.

10th November 2022

No. of kms covered: 343 (Total 3138 kms)

No. of hours ridden: 24 hours

Cities covered: Alipurduar-Barobisha-Bongaigaon-Paathshala-Naibari-Baihata-Mangaldoi-Dhula-Dalgaon-Besimari-Laalpool

States travelled: Gujarat-Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh-Bihar-West Bengal-Assam

It’s been an epic day indeed. Our fiery champ rode 24 hours without a single long halt! Fighting terrible road conditions, burning blazing heat, elevations, strong head winds, biting cold and a collective exhaustion of 10 continuous days of riding 18-20 hours a day, Preeti persisted, displayed superhuman strength and rode on like the conqueror she is.

“We revere her strength and courage. It’s god’s gift and exceedingly inspirational for all of us” her crew members heap praises.

The crew started at 5.45 am and stopped at around 8 am at Kokrajhar in Assam for breakfast, where they enjoyed the local Bengali cuisine of saag, 2-3 sabjis and aloo parathas. After this heavy breakfast they continued riding till the next morning with only a half an hour break in between so Preeti could rejuvenate herself with a power nap.

At 11.30 in the night, Mr. Mayank took over the wheel so that our driver Mr. Sandeep and Mr. Ghanshyam could sleep it off. Ms. Nivedita sat in the front and along with Mr. Mayank kept awake through the night with Preeti.

Throughout the night, they stopped 3-4 times when Preeti felt like sleep was taking over. Post a cup of tea/coffee and some light hearted banter with the crew, she would be raring to go again. At a particular 24/7 dhaba they were delighted to be served hot paneer pakodas (Preeti’s favourite!) with the coffee.

They rode on till Rowta, by which time the sun had risen. There they stopped for tea, Preeti freshened up and off they went again till about 48 kms before Tejpur when Preeti’s eyes finally gave way.

“I have always been a fan of Preeti, but she has taken my breath away with her strength and endurance. She has ridden 24 hours straight now and persevering against every possible condition not working in her favour. She is ever smiling and hides her frustrations and disappointments by joking and teasing. I believe that is the very life force which propels her forward.” Says Ms. Nivedita

“While Preeti’s speed might get broken time and again especially due to her cycle navigating through terrible patches of road, her spirit remains unbroken. During the night she has to deal with the light glare from the vehicles on the opposite lane. This just makes her feat even more admirable” says Mr. Ghanshyam

Mr. Mayank cannot believe how a lady can ride for so long in such conditions especially since she has already exerted herself since a while now. “She is a go getter who doesn’t give up at all. Her fortitude has blown my mind. During one of the tea breaks, I stepped outside to check the head wind and realised no one except Preeti Mam could ride in such conditions. Joking and laughing are her stress busters and that’s how she wards off sleep and tiredness. All night I chatted with her, and we exchanged our experience stories. She is truly my hero” he says.

Mr. Mayank joined our crew on Day 2 from Gujarat. He is from Baroda his father is a national level cyclist. After his 12th grade, learnt parasailing and worked as a parasailing instructor. Before lockdown, on a whim he took off on his cycle to ride all over India. He covered 12,000 kms in 75 days!

“I wasn’t looking at creating any records. I wished to travel and see the world intimately and hence took off. I would start riding at 4/5 am in the morning till about 12 in the afternoon. Then I would spend some time sightseeing, then back to riding and would halt at 6 pm in the evening for the day. I carried my own tent and would set it up either outside a school, police station, petrol pump or dhaba for the night. On 23rd March, lockdown was announced. I was in Jalandhar at that point. I stayed overnight in a Gurudwara. The next morning I rode to a friend’s place in Ambala (200 kms away) where I spent the night and left the next day with a packed lunch. Then I rode with just power naps and covered 1300 kms in 4 days to reach home. During that time, I survived on biscuits which a tea shop owner kindly let me buy. Else most other places and people drove me off since tourists weren’t allowed to step in during lockdown.

I joined Preeti Mam’s crew without a single thought and extreme excitement. It’s been a fabulous experience so far.” Narrates Mr. Mayank.

Our lady champ Preeti and her resilience have left not just our crew, but all of us awe struck. She is proving to be a trail blazer and has already left a deep mark on our hearts.

I write this as she finally rests, building up her energy for the last few days. Cheers to our Extreme Lady!

Blog by: Arohi Bhimajiani