As a teenager, Sanjay Mayure covered a distance of 20 kms every day from his home in a sleepy village in Maharashtra to reach a temple where food was served free to the visitors. “Forgetting all my worries, I would go cycling every day to the temple to eat and soon I realised that my cycle had become my best friend,” says Mr. Mayure, a native of Buldhana village in Maharashtra.
“When I became a confident cyclist, I started taking part in cycling competitions and winning prizes that helped me supplement my meagre income,” he recalls.
At a fragile age of 68, when seniors prefer to put their legs up and sip on their favourite drink, Mr. Mayure has embarked on yet another all-India cycle expedition, primarily to promote cycling.
He arrived in Vijayawada on Friday morning to a rousing welcome by AP Tourism staff at the picturesque Bhavani Island where he was joined by members of Vijayawada cycling associations and other cycling enthusiasts in pedalling around the cycling track carved around the place. “If I were living in Vijayawada, I would come for cycling every day to this island, away from the madding crowd of the concrete jungle,” he said.
“People here are very warm and helpful,” he said, informing that Vijayawada was not in his original itinerary. “But I am glad I came here,” he said with a smile.
The former deputy tehsildar has pedalled across 17 nations on his humble bicycle and has earned the title of “King of Ghats”. Embarking on such long journeys need a substantial budget and detailed planning but Mr. Mayure does not take any monetary sponsorship. “Whatever I have done so far is on my own expenses. I do this out of passion and can’t think of asking money from anyone,” he said.
The veteran cyclist from Buldhana has a supportive family back home where his wife, son and daughter-in-law get daily updates of his whereabouts through an app he uses. “I call home thrice everyday and share my location so my people know where I am,” he informed.
“I want more and more people to take to cycling that will help them ward off health issues,” he said, informing that he covers an average 100 km distance every day.
On Saturday at 6 a.m. Mr. Mayure will zoom through the winter chill, heading to his next destination Visakhapatnam.