The Solo Cycling Journey In India By Sonal Agarwal
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This is an epic tale of a cycling journey. The tale of a solo cycling journey in India by Sonal Agarwal who has traveled to 3 states of India on a bicycle.
Let’s read about her epic journey on which one can always find inspiration, motivation, and the spirit to be a traveler of the earth.
“Always believe in your strength, if you do then you can fight with anyone.”
India is a country where traveling by cycle is not a common sight, especially among ladies. It’s very difficult to send their girl child on a ‘SOLO’ Cycling tour.
My maternal uncle was ready to lock me up to prevent me from going on a journey. But my determination and stubbornness led me to take this remarkable step.
And today, he calls me to ask me to write my experiences so he can publish a book for me. I consider this my first ‘achievement’.
What Am I Doing These Days?
Table of Contents
I started my solo expedition on 8th November 2022 from Gurgaon, Haryana to Kanyakumari which is in the Tamil Nadu state of India. So far, it has been 105 days of the journey (the longest ever).
During this journey, I crossed 3 states of the country, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, and entered Maharashtra just a few days back. Until now, I have covered 3700 km.
My name is Sonal Agarwal, born in Alibaugh, Maharashtra but raised in many cities. The reason my father and I kept shifting was due to my father’s job and my studies, respectively.
From the age of 9 years, I stayed in a hostel where I learned to be on my own, and become more independent, and responsible for myself. The initial years turned out to be nightmares and full of hurdles due to adjustment issues and distress.
The reason my father took this decision since he got because my father got an overseas job and he was not sure if there were a good education system.
Later, I completed a Bachelor of Arts from a reputed Fergusson College and a Master’s from Lucknow University. I have 10 years of experience as a teacher in primary and secondary school.
How Did it influence Me?
The passion for long riding emerged during COVID, when no local transport or even personal vehicles were allowed to ride in the metropolitan city, of Mumbai. And I was very eager to go out and explore something new.
While scrolling through various blogs, I came across an article where a man has wandered all over the world on a ‘self-supported cycle.’
Woooooahhhh…. this is interesting and something unlikely!!
This inspired me to take a few journeys like Mumbai to Goa (600 km), Gurgaon to Agra (550 km), Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra (2000 km), and many more short trips. During every journey, I have learned to ‘push my limits to get better.’
The on-going Journey
Honestly, I had not planned this trip, actually, it was never on my bucket list. But because I started enjoying the taste of solo riding, I got desperate for another trip. Within 15 days, I arrived at the point of riding from Gurgaon to Kanyakumari.
First I entered Rajasthan state, and I explored many cities like Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pali, Nathdwara, Kumbhalgarh, and much more.
I savored every local cuisine like mirchi vada, kachori, rabri, mawa kachori, and makhyani lassi.
Rajasthan is famous for its breathtaking architecture and rich history. One should not miss visiting Hawa Mahal, Amer Palace, Gaitron ki Chhatriyan, Mehrangarh Fort, Blue City, City Palace, Lake Palace, and Kumbhalgarh Fort.
I enjoyed thoroughly riding on the roads of Rajasthan. The roads are beautiful and scenic. It was my dream come true. Rajasthan was a mythical and awe-inspiring experience.
After a month of riding in Rajasthan, I entered another state Gujarat. What shall I say about this place? This is the most hospitable state of our country. They are very much rooted in their culture and found them the most disciplined people.
In the beginning, I was very disappointed, as I wouldn’t get accommodation because a single person is not allowed to stay. But gradually, as I moved towards the other side, I was not only welcomed warmly but loved by the people.
I enjoyed the awe look on people’s faces and the popularity I started gaining. A few times, I was interviewed for Rajasthan and Gujarat news press, and I became quite popular in a month. People started to recognize my face from the news.
Multiple times, I was invited by the school to share my experience with the children and encourage them.
I believe the cycle is a ‘humble’ vehicle. No matter how many punctures I faced, how many times I rode during rain, and faced extreme headwinds on a coastal route, I enjoyed every essence of traveling.
All the journeys have made me indulge and derive the pleasure of new cultures, places, traditions, cuisines, languages, and moreover people. This changed my perspective to look at things in a different way.
I am learning to relish every weather, climate, landscape, terrain, river, and mountain.
The most unique feeling I have on a bike is ‘freedom’. I can go where I want, how I want, and when I want. My calendar, time, and route are not dependent on anyone by myself. I can stop at any place I like to enjoy the surroundings.
About My Bike
I still remember the day when I bought my first bike. I had little knowledge about the types available in the market.
I came back home and did a lot of research about what specifications I am looking for and what is my intention of buy.
My determination and purpose to travel were so strong that within the first two months of purchase, I did my first coastal tour from Mumbai to Goa (600+ km). Since my first bike was small and heavy, I had to sell it to buy a new one.
The new bike is Rockrider ST 120 from Decathlon. Although I was slightly skeptical about the product, it has given an amazing performance. This mountain bike has no front gears, only 9-speed gears behind.
One thing I am definitely sure of now, I can get tired and like to rest but my cycle never relaxes. It starts whenever I need it without any complaints or difficulties.
Who Taught Me to Ride?
It was my father who taught me really well. I must have been around 8 years old when he bought the first ‘Atlas’ cycle with 4 wheels.
Gradually, as the days passed, he started to remove extra wheels. My father passed away 12 years ago and I am very certain, if he was here, he would be very proud of my journeys.
Where to Find Me?
Although I am still in the mode of traveling and will resume my journey in another few days (was on a short break).
But I am very regular and always available on social media.
If you are looking to follow my journey, ‘EXPLOREONCYCLE’ is the right place on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.
Whether you found the story of Sonal’s journey informative, and engaging, or have suggestions for how I can improve in future stories or interviews, ( you will find it all here) your feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read the cycling stories and for your support. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me through email or social media.
An expert contributor is a writer with specialized knowledge and skills in a particular field, such as cycling. Expert Contributors provide valuable insights, analysis, and perspectives on the subject matter to enhance the credibility and authority of the publication. Through their writing, they aim to inspire and inform readers, sharing personal stories and experiences while offering tips and trends in the field. Their goal is to provide high-quality, informative, and engaging content to readers. Happy Biking!