Conquering New Heights

Being a girl in the country comes up with a whole lot of package of expectations in our nation; girls are daughters, mothers, sisters, wives and long after that, humans. In a conventional Indian family, a middle-class homemaker ends up devoting a chunk of her life to the care and upkeep of her family and gradually saunters towards old age. But this was not the case with Gurleen Kaur, a self-confessed tomboy, an adventurous and a sporty person at heart who believes in the pushing her boundaries.

A wife and a mother of two, life was fine for her, she would still cycle regularly on a daily basis as a part of exercising and fun. That’s when a financial crisis and a series of personal problems along with a hectic Maths course wreaked havoc on her and that’s when she realized that she needed to do something and push herself and then at the age of 42 started her tryst with a new life – a life on two wheels.

“My husband was a bit reluctant due to the odd hours and since I would at times have to go solo, but, in the end, he had to give in since he saw my passion and my love for cycling and that it gives me true happiness.” Even then, it wasn’t much acceptable in the society and people would give funny looks or letch at initially but then things began to change slowly as people around began to show interest and respect. They also began showing respect and began asking her about her cycling endeavors.

The very first adventure was a trip in 2014 from Manali to Leh organized by Times of India and on cycle only to be followed by more of such escapades. She was amongst the top 17 selected from a whopping 7000 people. ‘This trip made me see myself in a different light and made me realize that I was more than I thought I was.’ she says gushing with pride. While others had good professional cyclists, she the only non-cyclists there, took up the trip o her regular cycle; possible only due to her never give up attitude.

There was no looking back after that; she began participating more regularly. She started doing one-day Brevets like from Delhi to Panipat in one day, etc. Cycling also made her explore places which otherwise remain unknown as it’s impossible to go there on motor vehicles. “Cycling is not only liberating but it also makes one connect very intimately with the place since you can smell the place and feel its flavor unlike in a car. It has also presented me many places that I didn’t know even existed.”

After that, she participated in a 200 km trip from Delhi to Panipat and back and she managed to do that in under 10 hrs. After that, she also participated in an MTV Shimla race, in which she was the first runner-up. She again bagged the first position in ‘The Delhi Grand Thondo’ and the hell Race, a cycling and hiking expedition and third in ATH in the Aravallis in Gurgaon.

“Cycling makes me happy and only if you are happy can you spread happiness around,” she says before hanging up. While I write this,

she continues to conquer new heights.

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