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Pedal pusher couple takes the long road to unwind

Raviprasad Kamila
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No cause, just pleasure:G.N. Ashokvardhan and his wife, Devaki, pedalling for the ‘pleasure of it’, in Mangalore.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH
No cause, just pleasure:G.N. Ashokvardhan and his wife, Devaki, pedalling for the ‘pleasure of it’, in Mangalore.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH

Riding a tandem not only keeps this elderly couple in the pink of health, but also is a great conversation starter.

“Many speak to us but only in English thinking that we are foreigners,” says a chuckling G.N. Ashokvardhan (60), his wife Devaki (56) in tandem. They have been pedalling on the city roads since September last.

“Some ask for our permission before clicking us on the wheels. Children curiously gather around us,” says Mr. Ashokvardhan, environmentalist and the founder of Arohana Mountaineers and Adventures.

Mr. Ashokvardhan, who owned and managed Athri Book Centre at Balmatta for 36 years till March, 2012, sold it to Navkarnataka Publications and ‘retired’ as a book seller.

He says that though he long-desired to cycle around, he never got time for it when he managed the book house. So, immediately after “retirement” he ordered for a tandem, so that his life partner could also join his adventure.

Mr. Ashokvardhan says that after he approached a bicycle dealer here the company delivered two cycles. He purchased the eight feet long tandem for Rs. 7,500. The other one is still with the dealer.

Whenever the couple are in the city, they pedal for 15 km, and sweat it out for one-and-half-hour from 5 p.m. The longest distance they pedalled was to B.C. Road from their home at Karangalpady.

“We do not have any fixed route. We pedal wherever we like,” he says.

Sometimes they have pedalled up to Old Port and up to Sulthan Bathery and from there put the tandem in the passenger ferry boat to cross the Phalguni (popularly called Gurupur river). Later, they pedalled in Tannirbhavi. Mr. Ashokvardhan has recently taken to blogging. The environmentalist does not attach any reason for his love for the tandem. He pedals it for the “pleasure” of it.

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