Meet GK Fat Bike Rider from Vijaywada who had his life transformed by the humble bicycle. He lost 44 kg in 7 months just by riding his bike. A lot…
Bicycles Transform Lives…
We all have our different reasons for riding a cycle. Some to compete, others to represent the country on the global stage, others to socialise with friends every morning, still others to travel the world.
A few of us hop onto a saddle to change our lives. This is one such story, where a bicycle changed GK’s life for good…
Because Biryani is King!
Who doesn’t love biryani. Everyone has tales of the best biryani they have ever eaten. Just last week we wrote about Jibin George from Trivandrum, who pedalled 400 km extra to taste biryani from Hyderabad.
This tale isn’t about Hyderabadi biryani, but biryani by a Hyderabadi!
GK Dammalapati, originally from Hyderabad, is based in the neighbouring city of Vijaywada. And there he is the biryani baron. Before the lockdown he was affectionately known as Mota Bhai Biryani Waala.
Because he sold excellent biryani and well because he was overweight.
Wake Up Call…
In the midst of the lockdown GK was suffering from backpain. Which wasn’t surprising, considering the 44-year-old tipped the scales at 132 kg.
A visit to the doctor later, he was advised to get an MRI done for a full body check up. Unfortunately, he didn’t fit in the MRI machine!
It was a rude (but timely) wake up call for GK to take his health seriously.
In April he started going for morning walks with his friends. But the weight was a major impediment in his attempt at exercising. Because of his weight, even walking was stressing his knees.
His friends suggested to take up cycling instead, a less strenuous form of exercise.
And thus began GK’s tryst with the humble bicycle. He had last ridden a bicycle when he was in the 5th standard in school.
After which he got onto his family Bajaj Chetak and never looked at a cycle again.
Till 2020. When the world turned topsy-turvy.
After decades, GK got onto the saddle of a bicycle. His son’s Hero Sprint to be exact.
He used the bike for about a week. But as GK said, “132 kg is no joke, you can bend many things!“. Including the wheel of his son’s bicycle.
When the rim got bent 4 times within the first week, GK decided to look for something sturdier.
The Fat Biker!
After searching around for a bit on the internet, he came across something known as a Fat Bike. Which was literally a big fat bike. After consulting the manufacturer, he went ahead and ordered one from Ahmedabad.
And thus began his cycling journey in earnest on 17th May 2020. A day he is unlikely to forget in a hurry.
With that he also got his moniker, by which he is known among the local cycling community.
Mota Bhai Biryani Waala had now become GK Fat Bike Rider.
His wheels were set to define not just his new name, but also life in general.
Just buying a bike doesn’t make you fit. You need to ride it as well!
GK first started off with 5 km long rides. And then went on to do ‘long’ rides of 20 km. Which was an achievement at the time.
Riding initially was as difficult as you can imagine. It required a lot of patience. It was not just the physical aspect, but the mental effort as well.
People ridiculed him, as is the norm in society. GK shrugs it off, he says, “I looked like an elephant on an ant“.
And at this point, I will pause this story, dear reader. Most of us are guilty of making fun of overweight people at some point of time. Don’t! Support and nurture everybody’s ambition of getting healthier. We all need that extra push.
That Escalated Quickly!
He first started with 10-15 km rides a day. In June, his first full month of cycling, he managed to clock 500 km.
In July and August, he doubled it to 1000 km. By January 2021, he now rides 2500 km a month!
His monthly mileage is more than what some ‘cyclists’ ride in a year!
Since his business was shut because of the pandemic, he would spend 9-10 hours on the saddle of his fat bike.
He suffered from saddle sores, the incredible heat of Andhra Pradesh and of course his weight.
But he didn’t give up. He kept at it.
He has now ridden more than 12000 km from the time he started recording his rides. An incredible achievement by any cyclist. Much less a rider, who had that big a challenge at the outset.
In the last 223 days, he rode through 217 of them.
Consistency is the Secret Ingredient…
As Kung Fu Panda’s dad, Mr. Ping told his son, ‘there is no secret ingredient’.
The only secret is to look within.
GK did exactly that. He dug deep from within.
It was all a question of will power.
For the most part, he rode solo. With ample support from his family, he knew that the only person who could motivate him, was himself.
Nobody can force you to better yourself, he says.
GK’s day would start at 4 AM, where he would have a proper breakfast before hitting the road by 5. He did this day after day, with just a minor control of his diet.
It was all down to riding regularly.
Up Up & Away
In these last 7 months, GK has ridden a lot.
But the ride that stands out the most, was his maiden trip to Vizag on his bicycle. He took 3 days to cover the 400 km distance on his fat bike, with luggage strapped to the back.
It wasn’t just about riding, but also meeting with fellow cyclists he had got in touch through Strava.
The people in Vizag were happy to meet this inspirational cyclist. Who had achieved something which many of us can’t fathom.
Before his cycling life, the only exercise he got was eating biryani! He had no background of fitness. Which makes his transformation even more amazing.
Along the way, he rode multiple brevets as well organised by the Vijaywada Randonneurs.
GK Fat Bike Rider is now planning a 600 km brevet. For which he got himself a road bike!
From breaking wheels of his son’s cycle, he has now switched to a svelte roadie. Poles apart!
In August, GK is planning a Kashmir to Kanyakumari ride. If you meet him on the way, wave out hi and have a biryani together.
In March he will be doing a ride from Vijaywada to Tirupati – Bangalore – Mysore – Kannur – Udupi – Goa – Hyderabad – Vijaywada, a round trip of roughly 4000 km.
He also targets losing another 8 kg. But unlike earlier, losing weight isn’t his primary concern. GK is working on making himself a better cyclist. He still finds climbs a challenge, and is training to improve his cadence.
From Him to You
If you are in the same boat that GK was in a few months back, here’s what he has to say about you doing the same what he did:
“Everybody should maintain physical fitness. Cycling is the best exercise for whole body. If you prefer swimming that is better. But after swimming, the best is cycling. I recommend it.
Not just weight loss, but general fitness is good. One hour of cycling everyday can make a lot of difference. One hour for your health and body is not much time.
I will never leave cycling in my life. I promised myself that. I took an oath that I will never forget cycling.”
If you liked the story of losing 44 kg in 7 months and going from Mota Bhai Biryani Wala to GK Fat Bike Rider, then…
Story Contributed by Vignesh VP, who considers GK to be his cyclist of the year. And that is not something we can argue with!