Can you ride cycle for over 120 km daily and then report to your office on time? This may sound obviously far-fetched. But a police officer in Kerala is cycling an average distance of 120 kms every day before reporting for duty at his office on time.
Chalakudy native Saju Paulose, 48, who is currently on deputation to the emigration wing of Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, started cycling during the Covid lockdown days two years back as a daily activity to keep his body fit. But soon, he fell in love with cycling and started seriously pursuing his passion to cycle long distances in minimum time.
In the last two-and-a-half years, he has cycled over 43,000 kms and has participated in 396 rides. He has recently completed Zakpro summer scotch cycling challenge and is now preparing for the 1200 km long distance Les Randonneurs Mondiaux (LRM) in February and Tour-de-Thekkady in March.
“I used to cycle a lot during my childhood days. But when I grew up, like anyone else, I also gave up cycling. Only when I started cycling again during the lockdown time, I realised that age is never an obstacle to get back into cycling. Actually, cycling is highly meditative. We feel totally refurbished. If I can do it, anyone can do it,” Saju told “Open Digest”.
Initially when he started cycling in July 2020, he used to ride only about 15 to 20 kms a day. In the due course, he started riding more and soon extended his daily target to around 100 kms. “I start from my home at Muringoor in Chalakudy and ride till Kuthiran tunnel in Wadakkanchery which is about 60 kms from my home. I start around 4 am and reach back by 8 am. To the south side, I ride upto Aroor in Alappuzha which is about 50 kms from my home,” Saju said. Saju started serious cycling in Montra Blues 1.2 hybrid and later shifted to Cannodale Synapse road bike.
Saju is now an active member of several cycling clubs – Muziris Cycle Club, Paravoor, Mala Bikers Club, Queens Way Riders, Kochi and KL 64 Pedlers, Chalakudy in the state and has won many prestigious awards. He has done the longest ride of over 600 km and has participated in Montix (BRM) Challenge 200 km, 300 km and 400 km. Saju has earned the title of Double Super Randonneur. He also completed a Kerala circuit on cycle along with his friends –Nithin Santhakumar and V P Aneesh–covering a distance of 1300 kms in 4.5 days.
“I take up long distance rides on holidays and on my off days. I ensure that my work is not affected due to my passion for cycling. My superiors and colleagues are really supportive. My family is also providing me with all the support. I could lose 18 kgs in 100 days by cycling,” said Saju who is married to Simi and has two children John Paul and Liya Rose.
Saju added that cycling has really helped him to maintain good health as his cholesterol level has come down drastically after he took up cycling. He has a word of advice to those who are worried over rising sugar levels and cholesterol. “Just do cycling for around 10 to 15 kms a day, it can really help you maintain good health,” he added.