The Biking Mantra, A Healthy Sutra.
Sometimes one is lost where to begin? Interviewing Dipen Jain’s adventurous 550 kms biking journey from Manali to Leh over coffee at Starbucks has been an exciting evening. Not because I have another story to post but cause am thrilled to know about his journey and experience it someday. While one may think it’s a heavy-duty motorbike swaying through the winds but this is a hardcore cycling experience, “his rampyari” as he calls it….hahaha. He beautifully articulated his journey to me, to a level that I could imagine and relate to every word he told me.
Having known him for years as an epitome of fitness, he’s truly inspiring. His craze for biking began last year when he planned a road trip with his friends from Mumbai to Goa passing through Dabhol, Kashid, Sahyadri mountains and few coastal areas. It was an unbelievable feeling of achieving this. They reached Goa on the 5th day.
Immediately I inked my calf with a Mumbai-Goa 2014 tattoo and have decided every trip I do my calf will be inked with a memory.
He pursued this passion followed by a trip from Manali – Leh this year. He believes in surprises, hence refrained himself from reading or seeing any posts related to the journey prior to his travel.
The first thought anyone would get is “that’s a long journey and requires a lot of training”. Well not for Dipen! He didn’t train specially for the journey and followed a healthy exercise pattern. The ride had to be a surprise be it Mumbai – Goa or Manali – Leh. With a puzzled look I asked him, “How did you manage? Did you get tired? Did your body not give up? Questions cropping my mind” To this he patiently explained that fitness is a part of his daily routine and he exercises almost every day. The regime may include either walking, running, cycling, swimming or running a marathon. He feels fitness is extremely important and his body should be ready for a challenge at any given point.
He further adds, “I have resolved to take a trip on my cycle which will make me feel alive and help me push myself further. I am thankful to my wife Sarika Jain, children – Ren and Jin to allow me do crazy stuff like this. I know they were worried, but they did not express it and believed in me.”
Important tips to keep in mind while planning a biking trip.
- Fitness being most important, it should be a part of your routine. It saves you from sudden intense body pain and exertion.
- Take a careful look at the map prior to your journey. Make sure you take enough time to do this.
- Its suggested not to ride more than 40-50 kms a day. You can go uphill with a downhill and eventually rest it out. Over night stay is suggested at a lower altitude.
- Be hydrated, take proper water breaks.
- Body forms, pedalling style, breathing techniques are important. Look them up online, consult a sports trainer or physiotherapist prior to your ride. Enjoy every moment you cycle.
- Clean your cycle after every ride.
- Opt for a bike with good suspension.
- Pedal at your pace and stop when you feel tired. Take a break and start pedalling again.
- 7-8 hours of sleep is important for body to recuperate.
Dipen rode a MTB. They stayed in Manali for a day before beginning their ride. Following is the route they opted and places they stayed over during the trip. An average of 5-6 hrs ride each day with some days being more.
Day 1 Manali- Local manali Ride (1,950 mts)
Day 2 Marhi- (3,300 mts) it’s a tough ride on the first day.
Day 3 Sissu- (3,170 mts)
Day 4 Jispa- (3,320 mts)
Day 5 Patseo- (3,811 mts)
Day 6 Sarchu- (4,290 mts)
Day 7 Pang- (4,200 mts)
Day 8 Rumste- (4,260 mts)
Day 9 Leh- (3,500 mts)
Biking to Khardungla is an additional option, however they chose to run 10kms (10 days of cycling gave them the endurance to run in thin air and lesser oxygen levels).
One could follow the above route or opt to customise their riding routes.
With a natural thought of having passed breathtaking scenery through the journey, he expressed, “I can’t comment much on the scenery that we passed as most of the moments were spent cycling. Our journey was thrilling and challenging with tough terrains, rough weather and with every uphill i knew a downhill would come, similar to what we go through in our lives. I enjoyed every moment and looked forward to every pedal ahead. I don’t enjoy winters but we rode in 5 deg temp with headwind, tailwind, sidewind. The only saviour was not getting rains and snow else it would have been tougher. The entire group came together as fighters team up to win a war. We supported each other and respected each others decision”
There have been times when we have slept eating very little and rode 89kms the next day. There have also been 1-2 days where we couldn’t shower, just wipe ourselves due to climatic and location conditions and it was ok. Our team had some trained bikers while some dint even exercise. However we all believed in completing the journey which was important, irrespective the pace we did it at.
Dipen weighed 93 kgs in July 2014 and now he’s at 74 kgs. A workaholic spending 10-11 hrs a day, 6 days a week at office, he ensures to make time for his fitness regime. He has attained his stamina purely by rigorous exercising, healthy eating, proportionate food and avoiding carbohydrates at night. Sleeping on time is important for the body to repair. He suggests one to be focused and determined. Dipen strongly believes, if he could do this journey, ANYONE CAN! Bike riding from Manali – Leh isn’t tough but being mentally prepared is. He believes the more he shares about his journey with family and friends, the more it inspires him to attain the next level.
Dipen had a spark in his eyes when we spoke about the military camps and thanks them for their support. “Hats off to our military and the way they live months away from their families with barely 5 min communication once a week or even lesser. They are posted in the remotest or coldest areas, Siachen posts being one of them for 4 months where temperature of -20 is considered normal. One can’t see civilians for kms other then a passing truck or people like us travelling. Hats off to our brothers & sisters of the Army.”
In our entire conversation Dipen emphasised on the importance of fitness. He highly suggests everybody to train and work towards achieving a healthier lifestyle so one can live more, do anything that gets you a notch higher in your own eyes.
We all engross ourselves too much in work. The drive for making big bucks has gone. I would rather sustain what I have achieved. I don’t remember my biggest pay cheque or have been thrilled about it as much as I am about doing an adventurous ride or activity and remember every bit of it
With a drive for a healthy living he swore to examples by Robin Sharma, “You are the asset for your business and you have to be there for it. Like wise your health is your asset. You have to be there for it.” and his favourite being, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” by Steve Jobs.
Well I am still excited to do an adventurous trip, “the biking mantra, a healthy sutra” wink wink, the most important lesson learnt is to keep fit and eat healthy.