The pandemic has changed the way education is being imparted. Children no longer attend physical classes, where they ignore their teachers. Children now attend online classes, where they have easier ways of ignoring their teachers!
Study Hard They Said…
Jibin, on the other hand, isn’t a child. He is a legend! While his college classes are going on, Jibin George has been riding around the south of India first and now has embarked on a ride from Kerala to Kashmir.
Why waste time studying, when he can enjoy the country from the back of his saddle. And learn a lot more outside rather than in a classroom…
This 22-year-old is currently doing his second year in Hotel Management in Trivandrum.
Since attendance is not compulsory he has been riding around the south of India. ‘Attending’ those online lectures. Don’t tell his professors!
In 2019, he first rode around Kerala, covering all 14 districts in 1500 km and 14 days.
2020, saw him riding around South India.
2021 and he is riding around India.
You see where this is going…2022 and he might be riding around the world! Okay Asia…you pedants…happy.
He’s been using a hybrid Viva for all his rides with pannier racks and Btwin bags.
Carrying only lightweight things. With just two pairs of clothes. On this ride he is carrying a tent and sleeping bag. Previous rides he would just carry a tent and a thin bedsheet to sleep in.
He plans to cook as well as he rides towards Kashmir and is carrying a camping stove. Though being a foodie who enjoys the local delicacies, he might not be using that stove a lot!
Online Classes in the South
He attended his online classes along this route: Thrissur – Malappuram – Kozhikode – Wayanad – Bandipur Tiger Reserve – Mysore – Chikmagalur – Hampi – Hyderabad – Gandikota – Tirupati.
At Tirupati he finished off his ride and rushed home because of Christmas. He wanted to be home well in time, knowing fully well that Kerala is strict about the pandemic and enforces a rigorous quarantine.
Cycles are not allowed through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. It is too risky with the wildlife. Chances of being eaten by a tiger too high! So the forest guards packed Jibin and his cycle onto a passing jeep loaded with vegetables.
Vegetables and a cycle, you couldn’t possibly get greener than that!
He hadn’t set out with a purpose of traversing through the entire south. His goal was more to ride through scenic vistas and visit interesting places which he had heard of. And to that end he was satisfied with his excursion.
Everyone who travels, has their own reason for doing so. Some travel to meet people, see new things and some even travel to update their social media!
Jibin rode an additional 400 km just for one thing. Biryani. The unofficial national food of the country!
Everyone in India loves biryani and everyone believes that their city has the best biryani.
Jibin landed up in Hyderabad just for the sake of that delicacy. And it was ‘awesome’ according to him!
The biryani at Bawarchi’s in Hyderabad was well worth the extra 400 km…
Other than the food, his trip highlight was Hampi. This historic city is a traveller’s delight. Steeped in stories of the past, Jibin absorbed everything he saw.
Including lots of rain water.
He was unlucky, that it started raining when he reached there and stopped the day he was leaving. Which gives him good reason to visit Hampi again!
A level headed young man. He has his priorities right. With no attempt at chasing the ‘show’, he didn’t bother with riding the iconic K2K, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Rather, he has chosen to ride from Kerala to Kashmir. His grand departure was simply hopping onto the saddle at home and start pedalling north along the coast. The pointlessness frivolity of a flagoff be damned!
On being asked, why would he choose to ride to the north in the cold winter. He says, that’s exactly why. He wants to experience the cold.
Jibin hasn’t carried any winter wear for the cold. There is no point carrying additional luggage he believes. When he feels cold, he will buy something from that city.
With 3 more months of not attending classes, Jibin intends to make every day count. His plan is to ride as slow as possible, taking his own sweet time to reach Kashmir. While touring, there is no point hurrying.
As he says, “for 3 months, I will see the country.
Hey, there’s a pandemic right!
After his recent excursion in the south, Jibin believes that the pandemic is only in Kerala. Or at least that is what people believe. Besides his native state, no where else did he notice people taking any sort of precaution.
It is as if the current situation doesn’t even exist!
Can’t fake it with family!
Jibin might be doing a stellar job of not attending his classes online. But you can’t play that card with family. They aren’t going to buy it!
He feels, that his family doesn’t quite accept his love for cycling. They were not happy when he went riding around Kerala.
His brother convinced his parents about riding around the south, but barely. They aren’t convinced about him riding to Kashmir either.
To the point where his dad, who works as a fisherman in Mangalore, doesn’t even know that Jibin is out on the road. He is going to ‘surprise’ his dad in Mangalore when he meets him.
Surprise or shock, you decide! But wish Jibin luck for that encounter…
Travel doesn’t come without its own set of challenges.
For Jibin, the only challenge in diverse India is language.
He knows Malayalam, Tamil and English. The problem is outside of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it isn’t of much help. He believes a little knowledge of Hindi would help.
Most of his riding is on state highways, where people speak nothing besides the local language.
His attempts at communicating in English is pointless. Because, even his workable English is Shakespearean in contrast to the others. As he paraphrases the old saying, “In the land of the blind, the one eyed is king!”
Food on the other hand isn’t a challenge at all. He enjoys eating all the different things he gets.
Where the diversity in language makes things difficult. The diversity in food is a delight.
Being a hotel management student, enjoying local and street food is par for the online course! He can truthfully claim it as practical knowledge over the online lessons he is skipping.
As we write and publish this article about Jibin George, he is constantly and continuously pedalling north. Along the Western Coast he will pedal and eventually reach Kashmir.
If you see him on the road, wave out to him and treat him to some excellent local cuisine…
You can follow him on Instagram.
Also read about Chidambram’s journey from Mumbai to Kanyakumari along the Western Coast. And 24-year-old Abhinav Singh’s impromptu journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.