Alibag Cycling Club went community everesting on the auspicious date of ‘Friday the 13th’! The club speaks about this community building initiative…
Community Everesting in Alibag
A couple of years ago, the internet was flooded with photos of a traffic jam on the final ascent of Mt. Everest. But what have mountaineers and pedestrian traffic jams got to do with community cycling!
First things First. What in the world is Everesting!
The definition from the official Everesting Website reads, “It’s a fiendishly simple concept, and a fiendishly difficult challenge to complete. Pick any climb, anywhere in the world and ride or run repeat after grinding repeat until you have notched up 8,848m vert. In one activity.“
In one ride, you need to climb the height of Mt. Everest, which is where the name is derived from.
The goal isn’t complicated, getting there is.
In India, multiple cyclists have now Everested on various climbs of the country. Starting with Sumit Patil, from Alibag in 2015. During the lockdown there have been even more cyclists who have gone virtual everesting.
Just a week back, Australian pro-cyclist, Lachlan Morton set a new world record for the fastest Everesting ever.
Enter Community Everesting…
Well, to be quite honest, there is no such thing ‘officially’ as community everesting.
The madcap cyclists of Alibag, made it up. Because who cares about officialdom!
Those crazy cyclists who first came up with the concept of everesting sure as hell weren’t chasing anything official.
Taking a leaf out of the Everesting Spirit, rather than the Everesting Law, Alibag Cycling Club, decided to organise the first ever community everesting.
Basically get the entire community of cyclists to collectively add to the everesting miles.
Normally, everesting is an individual effort, where one rider completes the circuit, while the rest sit with their jaws on the floor.
But getting the community to participate, ensures that everyone is a part of it. Even the most inexperienced cyclist with minimal miles on their legs.
Friday the 13th is considered exceptionally unlucky in western superstitions. Which was reason enough for the folks at Alibag Cycling Club to go for their community everesting on this wonderful day.
If you are planning to do something crazy like everesting, you might as well do it on an unpopular day!
This was done on 13th of March 2020, prior to the nationwide lockdown. Just as well, that a community event could be undertaken then!
This ride was done to promote cycling amongst the members of Alibag Cycling Club. To get the inexperienced to experience something challenging.
The theme of the climbing party was to share and do something cool together.
But we live in the ‘Information’ age, where everything is judged by numbers.
So here are the stats racked up by Alibag Cycling Club:
In a day and age where it is difficult to get even a dozen people on a common platform, 55 cyclists lined up at 430 AM to go climb a hill.
These 55 cyclists together rode a collective of more than 400 km, in which the cumulative climbing was 14100 metres. 1.6 times their target of 8848 metres.
To collectively achieve this feat, the 55 attacked Mt. Karle Khind with an elevation gain of 94 metres, which they eventually rode up 150 times.
Every Drop Counts
Every drop adds up to make an ocean and the people of this coastal town know that well.
Its the collective which made this possible, but even amongst the community, there are a few who stand tall.
4 among the 55 were under-18, and their achievement is all the more commendable.
Youngest among the group was Ayaan Pathre at just 8 years old. Bhumitra Leuva (13), Satvik Raikar (13) and Aarya Patil (16) were the other tough teenagers. Bhumitra has an even bigger boast to his name, he has been riding everyday for the last 176 days.
The group also had two female participants, Janhavi Agashe and Dr. Megha Ghate ensured that the group was inclusive and welcome for everyone who loves cycling.
The most experienced rider in the group was Anand Kolgaonkar at 65 years young, who also happens to be the founder of Alibag Cycling Club.
5 of these 55 rode on single speed cycles up this 6.5% climb, proving that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
It was indeed a community event in which everyone was welcomed with open arms!
Since this everesting attempt was done on a public road, the group started at the crack of dawn. 430 AM the ride started and was wrapped up by 730 AM. Long before traffic starts building up there.
Fewer motorised vehicles translates into increased safety for everyone.
Fear of Climbing
For many new and inexperienced cyclists, a climb is something to be feared.
As such they never go climbing and never learn how to climb.
This was also used as an opportunity to help rider’s understand how to better use their gears, cadence and breathing rhythm.
Novice cyclists are filled with confidence after climbing Karle Khind even once, successfully. If you can do it once, you can do it again and again. Right!
The Climb Ahead
With the community everesting ride done and dusted by Alibag Cycling Club. It is time for them to try their hand at the next community activity.
On the 21st of June, Summer Solstice, these cool cyclists will be out again.
The longest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere) will be marked with the longest ride achievable by each club member.
The idea is to ride at least 1 kilometre more than your previous longest ride.
And collectively the group hopes to ride the distance from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, which is 2586 kilometres, with an underlying theme of ‘Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is One’.
The theme is inspired by the boards plastered in the hills by the Border Roads Organisation.
We wish the club luck as they attempt this community ride tomorrow.
Video of Community Everesting by Akshay Koli
Video and article header image by Akshay Koli