Cycling is a transforming experience. If you don’t buy our word for it, hear it from Additi Bhardwaj, our guest blogger for this post.

Cycling benefitsAbout the Author:

Additi Bhardwaj is a senior executive with a multi-national company.  In her personality a lot of contrasts meet, to create a rainbow called Additi. Sample this, she is a foodie and can guide you to the best food places in Delhi. She is also an adrenaline junkie, fitness freak and has the soul of a gypsy. Her mind looks for facts, whereas her heart speaks in poetry and when the two meet its sheer magic. She believes that sometimes you have to ‘Go Missing’ so that you rediscover yourself. ‘To do something new and to paint each page of her life with vibrant colors’, is the motto she lives by.

Over to Additi….

I am sure you all have read a lot of articles on the benefits of cycling both physically and mentally.

I have recently taken up cycling mostly because I have signed up for Manali- Leh Expedition with GoMissing in August 2016. I took it up more as a physical challenge, to be fitter and build more stamina. When Gaurav Rohatgi and Saurabh Kapur shared the training program, it seemed daunting. I felt the program was intense and totally insane.

Aches and pains from the first ride

Anyway, I bought my MTB and started the training. I was advised to put in maximum amount of saddle time. The GoMissing team added me onto a training group on Whatsapp. This was a mixed group of people. Some who had joined in, like me, for the expedition and some were regular cyclists with months, maybe even years of cycling experience under their belt.

Riding through Najafgarh Wetlands

Riding through Najafgarh Wetlands

My first ride in Delhi was short, just around 20 Kms.  The going was slow and painful. Each kilometer seemed a big triumph. Riding a cycle after so many years had me concerned about safety plus living in a concrete jungle had me worried about the route I was taking. Having driven on the roads of Delhi, I had my doubts about riding on the very same roads as traffic is unpredictable.  But Delhi is different early in the morning. Traffic is light almost sparse. My first ride was a tentative dip of my toe in the waters of cycling. My bike felt heavy and my form was awkward. My prime concern was to increase the distance I was riding.

Getting into a Secret Society

Slowly, the distance started increasing. With an aching body and protesting muscles, the training continued. Soon I started to notice my surroundings. Mornings in Delhi brought out the secret society of fitness buffs on the road, people running and cycling. And guess what, what a friendly lot of people we have on road.

Everyone waves to one another, smiles and calls out a ‘Good morning’.  I have never experienced these things on the roads of Delhi where driving is equivalent to fighting a battle. All of these things encourage you to ride more, do better. You feel part of a community, share a kinship with these people.

 Slowing Down Gives Me a New Perspective

Training rides for Manali-Leh

Training rides for Manali-Leh

The other thing that occurred was my observation of people with whom I share this city and I don’t mean the people in cars along side whom I drive on a daily basis. I started noticing people who use the public transport system. An old man getting off a bus, a lady with her two small children trying to flag down a passing auto, a man transporting cement bags in his cycle rickshaw, men riding their cycles to their work place. I started noticing people whom I never gave a second thought. While riding I started wondering about these people’s lives and their daily routines and struggles. Riding a cycle slows you down and forces you to acknowledge the sea of humanity in your city. Sitting in a car feels like you are removed from the reality of being on the same road as the man walking / cycling beside you. Being in car speeds your perception, riding a cycle slows it down. Forces you to think and ponder about strangers. Being a girl, riding a MTB, I expect and receive a lot of strange / surprised looks from passersby. And yet there are people who don’t bat an eyelid because they are so consumed with their own private battles.

Cycling has given me this new perspective and I’m grateful. It’s an unexpected advantage-I feel I have become a softer person on the road due to this new perception.

At the outset, when I said cycling is good for you, I meant it was good for you physically, mentally and also for your soul. It makes you a more forgiving and accommodating individual.

I want to thank Gaurav & Saurabh for this experience. I also want to give a shout out to Vikas for helping me choose my first MTB. And lastly to my partners in crime, Nirav & Kapil, people who make me want to jump out of bed everyday at 4.30 AM. Thank you all!!


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