What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This phrase is right suited for the 20-year-old Vedangi Kulkarni, who has become the fastest and youngest Asian to cycle the globe.
A resident of Nigdi, near Pune Maharashtra, Vedangi on December 20, Sunday cycled into Kolkata in the wee hours completing the 29,000 km distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe.
Almost five months back, Vedangi started her ride from Perth, Australia in July. She would soon be flying back to the Australian city from where she started her journey, to complete the record.
Her rough and tough ride
The youth who turned 20, during her ride spent 159 days, peddling upto 300 km a day. She crossed 14 countries in these five months of time. She said that the journey has shown her the “best and worst” of both herself and also the world, reported The Scroll.
Earlier this year in October, the 38-year-old, Jenny Graham from the Scottish Highlands bagged the record of the fastest woman to have cycled the globe in 124 days. Before her, the fastest record was at 144 days, held by Italian cyclist Paola Gianotti.
A student at the University of Bournemouth in the UK, Vedangi’s initial plan was to complete the journey in 100 days which would have smashed the world record. However, both human and natural adversity costed delay in Vedangi’s plan.
The young cyclist had to face problems in securing visas at many points which were followed by weather hostilities in Europe. During her journey, she was attacked by both man and animal. In Canada, she was chased by a Grizzly bear, and in Spain, she was robbed at a knife-point. In Russia, she rode alone for multiple nights in the snow. The ranging temperature, from minus 20 degree Celsius to 37 degrees Celsius was also a challenge in her journey.
1063km to go! The past few days have been overwhelming in every sense of that emotion. Just when I started telling…
Parents were her strength
Vedangi, who is pursuing a degree in sports management said that she started preparing for her ride about two years ago. Her preparations included long cycle rises, planning the route and time of her journey and getting the equipment for the tour. She also got a specially crafted cycle for herself.
Strong and determined Vedangi, completed her 80 per cent of route alone. On isolated and deserted roads she lugged her cycle equipped with heavy luggage that included cycle tools, camping equipment and clothing. Her parents majorly funded the expense of her ride.
In July, starting off from Perth, Vedangi cycled across Australia, through the outback, to reach Brisbane. She then flew over to Wellington, New Zealand, for doing the entire country north to south.
After her rough and tough ride, Vedangi credited her parents as pillars of her strength. She spoke to PTI and said, “My parents have done a great job in giving a 19-year-old (she turned 20 on the ride) all the required mental support and encouragement to explore the world, standing strong when the going got tough, always being on the other end of the phone and at not letting the curiosity die out due to ill experiences even though the parental instincts told them otherwise”.
Her father Vivek Kulkarni said, “It’s her dedication and willpower to achieve her dream which ensured the success, and I am sure there are many more to come.”