Kochi: Asthma and wheezing are health issues faced by a large number of people, especially those living in polluted cities like Bengaluru. Many of them also suffer from various allergies caused by the dust.
Amitesh Kumar, 24, a call centre employee in the Karnataka capital who had earlier dabbled in modelling, also had these problems. But he found his own solution: Travelling around the country on a bicycle.
Already engaged in the cycling trip, Amitesh no longer faces attacks of asthma or wheezing. In other words, he has removed the causes of the disease. The youth does not take medicines for asthma now.
Amitesh set off on his countrywide cycle expedition on October 16 from Bengaluru. From there, he headed to Tirupati, Chennai, Puducherry, Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Madurai, Rameswaram, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari and entered Kerala.
His cycling trip touched Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kochi, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad in Kerala. Now at Wayanad, Amitesh's next stop is Mysuru, from where he will cycle up the country to Goa.
Subsequently, the youth plans to visit Mumbai, Ajantha-Ellora, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bengal.
From Bengal, Amitesh hopes to cross into the neighbouring country of Bangladesh and from there back to the Indian state of Tripura. But in case permission is not granted to travel from Bangladesh to Tripura, he will take the Cooch Behar route from Bengal and visit Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
From Arunachal, Amitesh's next destination will be Bhutan. Gangtok in Sikkim and Nepal will follow. He is eagerly looking forward to visiting Kathmandu. “My native village is a mere 60 km from the Nepal border. This involves a cycling trip of 4-5 hours. So I will conclude the cycling trip at my own house,” says Amitesh excitedly.
Cycling by day
The youth belonging to Bihar cycles only during daytime and prefers to sleep in a tent at night. He starts his daily trips by 7 am when sleeping in a tent and 9 am when staying at some house.
Covering an average distance of 60 km on hilly tracks and 80 km on flat roads, Amitesh cycles around seven hours a day. The distance he cycled from Bengaluru to Kochi was 1,800 km and another 15,000 km has to be travelled before he reaches home.
Often, the youth searches couchsurfing for accommodation. The biggest challenge he faces is finding a space to pitch the tent. When he tries to do that on an open ground, curious local people intervene. He may have to reply to their silly questions, which is a bother. “Premises of petrol pumps, schools, hospitals and mango groves are ideal for pitching the tent,” says Amitesh.
A place to stay will be provided by people he contacts on Facebook or by couchsurfing. Still, they question him on meeting for the first time personally.
For charging mobile phone and camera, the youth depends on a solar panel. Each day, Amitesh uploads photos and comments regarding his travel on his Facebook page.
At Rameswaram, a torrential rain awaited the youth. “I was drenched all over and was bedridden for a day. I also had to use the inhaler,” says Amitesh.
The Google network is totally dependable, says the youth. “But when I cycle along routes where the network connection is not available, I download the maps in advance,” he explains.
Amitesh's clothing bag for the journey includes a T-shirt, two cycling T-shirts to tackle the sweat, two pairs of jeans, a skin protector jacket while cycling and the helmet.
Name: Amitesh Kumar
Native place: Seetalpatti village in Champaran, Bihar. This is the area where Mahatma Gandhi launched his satyagraha in 1917.
Expenses: A daily average of Rs 100-120.
Early breakfast: Coffee that he makes himself, biscuits and bread.
Later, he has another breakfast around 9 am from a small and clean restaurant. The cost would be Rs 30-40.
Lunch: Light food priced around Rs 40.
Supper: Parotta and omlette at not more than Rs 40.