In a running city like Mumbai, where there is noise of vehicles all around. Everyone is just in a race to get somewhere as soon as possible. In such a situation, 55-year-old Firoz Palkhivala, who lives in the same city, has been using his cycle for commuting anywhere for the last 13 years. He has also cycled in countries like Taiwan, Turkey, Iran and Georgia. These days he is touring India by bicycle.
Firoz has gone on a tour of India from January 2021. So far he has completed a journey of about 4700 km. The most unique thing about this journey of his is that he does not stay in any hotel or lodge while traveling by bicycle, but chooses a place of his choice and sleeps in a roadside tent. He himself cooks the food and travels ahead without any definite plan.
Firoz has The Better India “I do a little bit of preparation before I start cycling. But I don’t make any plans. I meet people, talk to them and take information from them and travel to new places. If I like a place, I stay there for a few days.
fond of cycling since childhood
Firoz, a lawyer by profession, is fond of cycling since childhood. Although cycling was reduced over time. But he says that sometimes a small incident can make a big difference in your life. The same thing happened with them as well. Recalling that incident in his life, he said, “It was 13 years ago. I was reading the newspaper early in the morning. The news was published in the newspaper about a doctor from Mumbai, who used to use a bicycle for commuting anywhere. Taking inspiration from the same article, I started using a bicycle instead of a car from day two.”
Firoz says that at that time he had an old cycle of Hero Company. Which he used for commuting to office and anywhere. He later read about cycle tours on the Internet. What was then he decided to take a bicycle on trips. He has cycled countries like Taiwan, Turkey, Iran and Georgia. He has a separate cycle for running in the city and has made a special cycle for the tour.
son also does cycling
Firoz told that when he went to Taiwan, he had cycled 1100 km there. In April last year, he was scheduled to visit the West Coast of America. But due to the Corona epidemic, he had to cancel his trip. But Firoz was eager to go on a long cycle journey. Then his wife advised him to take a cycle tour in India instead of going out of the country. Both his sons and wife are also very fond of traveling. He told that his eldest son lives in Germany and often does cycling.
Earlier this year, when everything started returning to normal after the Corona pandemic, Firoz set out on a trip to India. During his travels, he shares experiences from different states of the country. He told about Gujarat, “So far I have completed 4700 kms by cycle in Gujarat. I have seen every corner of this state. During the second wave of Corona, when I stayed in the village of Kutch, the people there used to take full care of my food and drink.
He cycles sometimes 10 km and sometimes 50 km in a day. In this journey so far, he has cycled a maximum of 116 km in a day.
full house built on bicycle
This cycle tour of Firoz is completely sustainable and also minimal. He has settled his entire house in this cycle. He is traveling with only three bags. In one bag is their waterproof tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. At the same time, his second bag has clothes for cold and rainy weather. The third bag contains kitchen items. They have a small gas cylinder. Apart from this, he also travels with two small utensils.
Firoz says, “I love sleeping under the open sky. I also use tents according to the season. Simple food and my own made khichdi are my regular meals in the dhaba. You cannot expect much comfort in a journey like this and believe me this is true bliss too.”
Although sleeping outside has its challenges, he says the people around help him choose the right place. Apart from this, he also has an action camera, a digital camera and phone, which he charges with a solar battery. Firoz has a solar panel at the rear of his cycle to charge the battery. In rainy days, when the battery is not charged, then he stops in a dhaba to charge the phone.
Firoz explains the difference between his travels abroad and India, saying that it was very difficult to get vegetarian food abroad. Since then, he started keeping gas and cooking items in his cycle. But the good thing abroad was that due to less pollution there, cycling was a pleasure. Whereas in India it is quite the opposite, there is no problem of food here, but there is a lot of dust and pollution.
Firoz says, “Dust and pollution are definitely India’s problems, but if I complain about these things, I will not be able to enjoy the journey. That’s why I don’t complain much and find joy in every situation.” He visited Asia’s famous Alang Shipyard in Gujarat, where ship breaking work is done. At the same time, he got a chance to visit the Mini Kumbh Mela in Junagadh. So far, during this journey, he has also enjoyed the journey of Gir Somnath with every corner of Kutch. Presently he is traveling to Rajasthan.
You can live a happy life with the least amount of things
Firoz, about the benefits of cycling, says, “Even after traveling hundreds of kilometers by car, you do not get any information about the outside world. While cycling, we get a chance to understand different people and local culture. The biggest advantage of cycling is that even at the age of 55, I feel young.
Although he sometimes has foot problems, he travels taking full care of his body. They leave for another city only after taking complete rest at one place.
Finally Firoz says, “Cycling is such a habit that you will realize how you can lead a happy life with the least amount of things. All I would like to say to everyone is to include bicycle in their everyday life. It is good for your health as well as the environment.”
Editing – G N Jha
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