A three-day cycling trip to the Nilgiris and back has made Sreejith Kannan a happy man.
The sporadic pushing of pedals has something therapeutic about it. The surroundings become an impressionist painting of familiarity and the blurred roads, inches away from the feet, defining one’s mental state. “I’m somewhat savvy and more content than when I started this trip. Though I've been riding for quite a long time, I worked on body positioning, technique, hydration and nutrition strategies before this adventure,” says Sreejith Kannan on his recent biking trip from Kozhikode to Devala in the Nilgiris and back.
Hailing from Parappanangadi and originally an animator at KINFRA Techno Industrial Park, Sreejith was inspired by author and founder of bicycletouringpro.com Darren Alff to explore his shtick in long-distance cycling. “I made a habit of cycling to work every day. This routine inspired me to ally with ‘Calicut Pedallers’, a community of cycling aficionados, from whom I learned about the technicalities and the responsible way of cycling,” Sreejith shares.
This monsoon, Sreejith set out on a solo challenge of cycling close to 300 km from Kozhikode to Wild Planet Resort in Devala in three days, traversing different terrains through Chundale and Pandalur and returning via Nadukani. “Careful planning and dedicated preparations are inevitable in covering long distances, he says, adding, “Physical challenges are comparatively easier than the mental stress.”
Chundale in Wayanad was Sreejith’s first stop. He camped at the Asdani Adventures campsite for the night before resuming his trip to Devala in the Nilgiris. “Cycling through the city was the greatest challenge,” Sreejith says, while recalling the heavy traffic.
Is there a place he would revisit? Pat comes the reply, “Kanthanpara Waterfalls at Kalpetta that I came across on my second day captivated me the most.” The next stop was Wild Planet Resort at Devala. Sreejith pedalled across the bewitching hill station of Meppadi along the highway to Ooty before reaching Devala via Pandalur.
“Finding time for self-interaction is the greatest advantage of solo travel. As I enjoyed my own company, I could freely interact with the locals too. They were interested in my tales and some were even concerned about me, asking me to return home immediately and safely,” Sreejith adds with a chuckle. He started his return journey at 9 am on day three. “I chose a different route to return because this travel was all about absorbing different vistas,” he says. His return was through Nadukani before touching Vazhikkadavu and then cycling through Nilambur and Malappuram to reach Parappanangadi by 8 pm. “I was enchanted by the bird’s eye view offered by the Nadukani hills of Idukki,” Sreejith recalls.
“The four-month-long preparation and regular workouts to maintain my mental and physical attitude paid off on this ride. I survived bewildered looks and comments from the natives who saw me practising cycling and this has instilled a sense of achievement in me. With regular practice and willingness to learn, anything is possible and any distance is doable,” Sreejith concludes.