Open lakes, the view of golden leas where crops are approaching harvest, the beauty of an old rustic hut along the side of the road; and also the curious gaze of onlookers while passing through each village and the much loved weather in Bengaluru have been the constant companions for Glen Attewell, CEO, Tesco Bengaluru. “The beautiful fields and the trees along the way make my day. It is just fantastic,” describes the 57-year-old cycling enthusiast.
He recalls how it all started. “When I used to play football, I used to exercise rigorously by cycling,” he reminisces. Since he suffered a lot of knee injuries in the sport, he decided to choose an alternative fitness regime. What started as a simple exercise to boost the stamina while playing football, later became the sport of his choice. “I had to choose something to replace football. I could have chosen swimming over cycling since I was practicing it for a long time, but I have chosen cycling with joy. I made a conscious decision,” says Attewell.
A British colleague at Bengaluru helped him to pursue his passion in India for the first time when they went around nearby villages. “People coming from outside India say that there are no rules in the traffic. But there are rules here. I was also chased by dogs twice,” recalls Attewell about his first cycling experience in the city. Since then, he has been discovering new places almost every Sunday for the past three years. Berigai, Shoolagiri, Veppanapalli are among some villages in Tamil Nadu that he has visited during his long trips from Bengaluru. Nandi Hills near Bengaluru is his favourite destination for rides along the hills. These trips cover a distance of 60-65 kms each and last for about three-five hours, is a surreal experience according to him. “I start exploring when I go for cycling. I see all that I would have missed if I go by car. I have learnt a lot of interesting things about the country and I have met friendly people,” says Attewell.
He chooses the destination with much planning, depending on the weather and distance. While sometimes he plans to go countryside, sometimes he prefers the breeze of the hills. He aims to cover 25 kms in one hour, although sometimes it takes longer. Attewell has been a part of several cycle tours both in India and abroad. His expeditions in Europe, South Korea and India have been a helpful guide to know and explore the nuances of each destination. “The tours help me to get a glimpse of various habits of people. Despite the language barrier, the way people have helped me to find the way or find a restaurant to sample local cuisine is heartwarming,” he adds.
Even though the head of the technology and retail operations for the British multinational finds it difficult to pursue his passion at times, owing to his busy work schedule; he tries to balance it through proper planning. Cycling across the countryside is a stressbuster for him. “I like this kind of exercise; it is very good for the heart and lungs. It eliminates the strain in your body. I find it very relaxing and it reduces my stress,” he signs off.