Sun, 22 Sep, 2019

Cycling: Once in a lifetime experience

By Anish Thakuri

“Once you start cycling, the city opens up for you. No longer are you fighting it, hot and frustrated; no longer are you at the mercy of bus drivers, road workers and decisions made by others, over which you have no control. Believe me, once you've tasted this freedom, you're hooked.” - Deborah Moggach

These are the words of one of the world’s greatest philosophers Deborah Moggach. Up until November 25, I used to wonder, is cycling really as exhilarating as she said? But after that day I came to realize that even her words were not sufficient enough to portray the fantasy of cycling. Yes, cycling is something that fascinates people very much.  I always had a dream of going on a long cycling trip. Thanks to my friends that dream has now become a reality.

It was perhaps the best experience that I have ever had in my life. We enjoyed a lot. I can’t express my happiness in words. It was more than WOW.  I hadn’t thought that it would really happen but our cycling event turned out to be a huge success. We enjoyed each and every bit of that day. And yes, I am pretty sure we will never ever forget that memorable event throughout our lifetime.

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November 25th 2014 was the day we went for our first cycling. I would like to congratulate every cyclist for completing the first event successfully. Yes the first cycling event of our life. Every cyclist who attended the event  hadn’t gone cycling before. Needless to say, we were all beginners. So, we were a little bit frightened from the possible obstacles that lay ahead. But who cares? We all know the slogan of Mountain Dew “Daar Ke Aagye Jeet hey”. So we were determined to make it happen anyhow. 11 people gathered. Ashim Regmi, Abshiek Gupta, Anil Lama, Ashish Bikram Lamichne Chetteri, Bidish Acharya,  Pratik Budathoki, Prajjwal Sthapit, Sachin Aryal, Suman Thapa, Anish Thakuri and Muskan Lamsal. Anish, Pratik and Anil took the initiations of the event. We organized it very nicely. Everything was planned. We had clearly notified every cyclist to bring necessary items from home. Since I knew very well about the routes, we didn’t have any difficulties. We rode for almost 13 hours. We started from 7:30 AM and ended at 8:00 PM.

We began our journey from Jamal, where we rented the bicycles and helmets. Unfortunately the bicycle office didn’t have enough number of helmets for us. So, every one of us didn’t get a helmet. After having couple of photo sessions, we began our journey and moved towards the northern part of the valley. Since I knew the routes, I lead the way. The SAARC summit was scheduled the next day, so all the roads were well maintained. We felt very happy to ride our bicycles over the smoke free & dust free Kathmandu. We reached Golphutar at 9:00 AM and bought some food. Then we decided to have some breakfast. After 10 min far from Golphutar, we found one small shop nearby Valley Public School. There we spent 20-25 minutes having breakfast. After crossing Golphutar , we reached the semi-urban city of Kaudol. The roads of Kaudol were graveled. We had some difficulties over there. Then we reached a new place. It was a completely rural area. We found ourselves enjoying the scenic beauty of that place. It was all uphills and downhills. Then on our way we faced a straight upward hill. Nobody was capable enough to ride the bicycle over it. So every cyclist pulled their bicycle and passed the hill. Then we reached the hills of Jagdol, situated on the higher part of Gokarna. The roads of the jagdol were pitched. We enjoyed riding our bicycles on the black road of Jagdol. After riding for 15 minutes from Jagdol we reached to the entrance gate of Shahid Park. From there we could see the breathtaking view of Kathmandu valley. We took some photos there. Pratik, Anil and Muskan were busy with selfies as always. I think that day they took more than 500 selfies.  Along the way, Absihek and Suman took a wrong turn and went astray. They got separated from us. We tried them on their cellphones. They said they would meet us at Sundarijal. Now from 11 people, we shrank down to 9. After moving down from Jagdol, we reached Gokarna.

Gokarna is a mesmerizing place. It is the city of overwhelming emotions, a city that promises a religious experience, a city full of beauty and has rich cultural diversity. The city is also renowned as the capital city of the ancient King Mandev, King of Licchavi period. Located East of the valley, Gokarna is a perfect getaway for a peaceful weekend. After all, Gokarna is the place where I come from. I know each and every corner of Gokarna valley. Enjoying the view of Gokarna, we moved ahead on our way.  Then we reached to the temple called Uttar Bahini, which is near my home. My friends appreciated me for bringing them to such a beautiful place. They did hesitate a little to leave that place but it was getting late so we moved ahead. I was scolded by them for making them hurry. Every one of us considered that place to be a paradise. We enjoyed the view of Gokarna Golf course. Near the golf course there is a small ground where me and my childhood friends used to play badminton. There, we began to show off our cycling stunts. While we showed off, Pratik accidentally overturned and fell down. We initially laughed at him and then helped him up. I taunted him a lot for this but unfortunately , after 5 minutes, a horrible incident happened to me. I was leading the way. The road was exceptionally tough than before. I shouldn’t have ridden my bicycle so carelessly. While I was riding, I lost my balance. As a result, I fell down into a river along with the bicycle. My bicycle almost sank into the river but I hung in there. Bidish and Ashim pulled me up. Now it was Pratik’s turn to laugh at me. Everyone joined him. I felt terribly humiliated. After a couple of minutes , with the help of Pratik, I picked up my bicycle from the river. I still feel awkward about that incident because of the fact that it was my own hometown and I was leading the way. How much shame I felt. Oh God, you shouldn’t have done this to me.

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Then we moved towards Sundarijal followed by Karidor Road of Bagmati. We reached Sundarijal at around 2 PM. There we had our lunch. Then we decided to move on toward Changu Naryan. Abhisekh and Suman who previously got separated from us, finally met us. On the way to Changu Naryan, Bidish's cycle's back tyre got burst. It was an obstacle for us. Bidish along with Ashim went to repair the bicycle. It was near Sundarijal so they had trouble finding bicycle repairing shop. We waited there for about 25 minutes. Then Ashim came with the news that Bidish couldn't come along. His bicycle couldn't be repaired. Now there were 10 of us. Then we moved towards Changu Naryan. It was almost 4:00 PM. While we were riding, my phone rang. It was Bidish. He had repaired his bicycle at a repairing shop in Gokarna and he wanted to rejoin us. It was tough to give him locations and we were already too late so I asked him to meet us at college. He happily agreed and we headed to our destination again. It took us almost an hour to climb the hills of Changu Narayan. We reached our destination at around 5:15 PM. We were surprised when we reached the temple of Changu Narayan. Guess what? Bidish was there. Oh my god! How was this possible? Bidish told us everything about how he reached there and it was really interesting to listen to his journey. As I mentioned earlier, we had chosen a long way. Then after an hour we entered the city. We took a deep breath. Now we could easily travel. As I mentioned earlier, it was the SAARC period and Kathmandu was decorated like a bride. We were mesmerized by the lighting and decorations, especially Rani Pokhari. It was like a musical fountain. Enjoying the view of Kathmandu we reached Jamal at around 8 PM and returned the bicycles. This is how our cycling journey wrapped up.

Cycling is one of the adventures which are tough but not impossible. I recommend everyone to go cycling as it is a fun and healthy exercise. So have you ever gone cycling? If not then what you are waiting for? I am pretty sure you will find the meaning of what enjoyment is.