Pedalling all the way to Kashmir from Kerala!

Cycling down to Kashmir from Kerala!

When Nidhin set out from his home in Amballur, Thrissur, on an avowed mission to tour all of India, he had just about Rs 170 in his purse!

Undeterred, he started cycling, raising funds for himself selling tea by the wayside. It's been more than two weeks since he set out on his “Bharath darshan”. Onmanorama caught up with him on his Goan leg of the tour.

New year, fresh places!

The young man was working in a restaurant in Thrissur. It was his lot to make fresh juice and tea.

Small-time work, but big-time dreams! That’s how it’s been for Nidhin, a solo rider and shutterbug of sorts. Given a chance he would love to dabble in film-making. In pursuit of his hobby, he saved up and bought a camera for Rs 20,000, a prized possession indeed. The going was good at work with photography as a boost when quite out of the blue came the COVID and the lockdown. His job loss forced him to stay put within the confines of his home, a prospect the constant traveller resented. Months of boredom saw him scouting for new ways to entertain himself. Then came the New Year and with it, a resolution. Travel, he would!

All over India on a cycle

Matters took a serious turn when Nidhin declared his intention to travel up to Kashmir. But how? What would be the mode of transport? While mulling over this, his attention was caught by his younger brother’s old, rickety cycle. An idea, but not quite thrilling at that, popped up. Would an old machine like the cycle withstand the rigours of a rough ride to Kashmir? It needed a thorough overhaul. Negative factors notwithstanding, Nidhin was all set to go. But when the question of raising funds arose, he decided to sell the camera he had so lovingly bought. So off it went for Rs 13,000. In all this, his family was his biggest support base, says Nidhin.

The cycle overhaul took up quite some money. But lack of funds did not seem to be an obstacle as Nidhin said he would only be too happy to make tea and meet his expenses. Thirty glasses of tea sold a day meant Rs 300, quite sufficient for a day’s needs. So he bought a diesel stove, dishes and a case for keeping the tea hot. What was left was Rs 170 with which he set out.

Cycle ahoy!

Armed with the required dresses, tea-making paraphernalia and a tent, he cycled out on New Year’s Day.

A fortnight into his travel this is what he has to say. He’s up and cycling by 5.30 every morning, covers a 100 km a day and calls it a day by 4 pm. He then finds a comfy nook where he goes about making tea. Folks, intrigued by his venture, come up with generous donations even when they don’t buy tea. By night, he pitches his tent in a petrol bunk and settles in. He’s off again before daybreak.

When he set out he had neither a helmet nor a pair of gloves for personal safety. But good Samaritans, familiar with the young man’s spirit of adventure as posted in social media platforms, chipped in with all that he needed.

But his cycling has not been without its flip side. The constant movement has caused his legs to get swollen. Not that this keeps him from going on. Come what may, Nidhin is determined to see the top end on the country. “Where there’s a will to work hard, nothing can stop you”, says he. An entire country ride is a maiden try for the youngster who has covered all of South India on a previous outing.

He hopes to cycle down to Kashmir by mid-February. The trip back home will also be on his bicycle.  

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