Unlike most of us, KM Nanaiah and his friends start their weekends and holidays a little early. In his cycling gear, Nanaiah cuts through the fresh morning wind as he passes by the breathtaking Mumbai coastline, which is otherwise busy, at a speed of 25 km per hour. He rides a SCOTT Speedster 50, known for its aerodynamic handle bar, which is specially built for roads.
He shifted to Mumbai a few months back, but the sports enthusiast's passion for cycling started five years back in Delhi. He had joined Delhi Cyclers, a group that thrived on pushing all limits, covering more than 100 km at a stretch while travelling far into the countryside every time. “The beauty of these journeys was how demanding they were physically. They tired us individually, but the team’s pace and enthusiasm kept everyone going till the destination,” says the country leader of Equifax India. His first memorable trip with the group was 120-km long ride, from Delhi to Damdama Lake in 2013.
Nanaiah’s wife Priya, too, is an active cyclist. Together, along with the group, they have explored many routes to their favourite locations within the city such as Chandni Chowk and Qutab Minar.
Some of his fondest memories of travelling abroad involve cycling and exploring an unknown city. He often recalls the trips to his favourite destinations — Budapest, Vienna and Prague — where he went pedalling through the city, pausing and admiring its old architecture, culture and beauty. Vienna with its dedicated cycle lanes, Nanaiah says, is the best place in the world to ride through. But, he still cherishes cycling trips along with his wife within Delhi.
As a kid, learning to cycle was done as a matter of course. Nanaiah had always been an sportsperson. He represented Mangalore University in national-level hockey tournaments during his college days. Today, cycling is more than a great form of exercise for him. It is an activity that helps him concentrate and unwind. He prefers to keep silent during the rides, with eyes focused on the road and heart pumping.
He says, “In Mumbai, we start cycling at 5.30 am in the morning. From Worli Sea Face, we go all the way to Marine Drive, sometimes Nariman Point, passing by Haji Ali Dargah and Pedder Road. The coast is calm and serene in the morning.” Nanaiah and his friends in Mumbai are looking forward to joining a formal cycling group, soon.
He believes maintaining a fit body is essential for a healthy work-life balance, and an activity such as cycling has a lot to teach about approaching professional work as well. “One big lesson I learnt is that covering the distance is not just about you. Your team keeps everyone together and you keep going towards your goals. At the end, it’s all about focusing on the road and staying stable,” he says.