Sooryanarayanan, Jerin, Jinu, and Anto are a group of college mates who have undertaken a journey from Ponkunnam, Kerala to Ladakh, covering the entire distance by bicycle. They began their journey on June 25th 2017, and have reached Delhi. The four of them were students of St. Joseph College of Communication, Changanassery, completing their undergraduate degree in April 2017.
Reaching Delhi by traveling for more than 40 days is something unfamiliar to us, in the times of airplanes and super fast trains. Mobility has indeed increased in leaps and bounds since the invention of the wheel, especially since the industrial age – now, humanity as a whole is attempting to take small excursions into space.
While facing such facts, it is important to remember that such mobility is not accessible to all. In objective terms, even a train journey is not feasible for a large part of India’s population. Light motor vehicles for short distance travel require upkeep, which is again unaffordable to many. Apart from affordability, the drawbacks of over-dependence on petroleum products has been a subject of discussion for many years.
Bicycles provide a solution for both these issues, at the cost of mobility. But during its commercial introduction in the 19th century, it was one of the most efficient and independent modes of transportation, and this subsequently gave it popularity in the market. Over the years, motorbikes have taken over most of the roles of bicycles, and continue to do so today. However, the bicycle remains relevant; the remarkable aspect is that it transcends economic and social borders, ridden by women, children, rich and poor. The utility varies, of course, and there are different models of bicycles available for different purposes.
Choosing a bicycle to travel cross-country is a statement in today’s world. The focus is shifted from the destination to the journey, for one. Despite the obvious need for preparation, traveling by bicycle has its own immediacy and simplicity – perhaps it allows a closer view of the world as we pass it by. Indeed, bicycling as a recreational activity is gaining prominence, mainly in urban and suburban areas, where like-minded people are getting together and organizing collective bicycling trips.
Our friends only have less than a 1000 km to Leh. What they have achieved already is commendable, and it would be incredible if they were to reach their intended destination. They have continued to come in contact with people from different walks of life along their journey, and braved multiple adversities. Photo Mail wishes them well, and presents the images made by Jerin Joseph.