An assistant professor at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), 28-year-old Shameem is also a cyclist. And from May 15th, the intrepid professor plans to embark on a solo cycle journey from Okha (Gujarat) to Dibrugarh (Assam). That's a whopping 3,500 kms and Shameem aims to accomplish this feat in 20 days.
The young professor from Mangaluru hopes to encourage people to adapt a healthier, easier and cheaper way of travel. But what inspired him to take up this journey?
Shameem says, “My age inspired me. After 10 years, I might not be able to cycle due to added responsibilities and might lack physical energy. Thus I want to do this now.”
This is not Shameem's first tryst with the cycle. In the summer of 2016, he cycled from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, aiming to find a place in the Limca Book of Records, but unfortunately, he had to stop 200 kms before his destination due to ill health.
However, this did not stop him from setting another target for himself and this time, he hopes to realise his dream. This cycling expedition to spread a message about the environment and healthier lifestyle, comes with its share of risks. Shameem shares, “As I ride solo, without any crew, I often have to stop at a place where there are no hotels or help I can reach to. The people in these areas have generally been welcoming. So, I also want to spread the message of unity in humanity."
Shameem goes through rigorous training to prepare for the journey. He says that that he trains for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours daily to make himself mentally and physically fit for such long rides. He stresses that mental strength is far more important than physical strength.
“Many people think about the difficulties and give up even before trying. These rides are not just about a person’s physical capabilities but also about mental health. One has to be mentally prepared for the challenges coming their way. I have been blessed with self-confidence and passion. I am self-ignited," he asserts.
Shameem has been making preparations for a month as he needs to make sure he carries the right supplies for the solo cycling expedition. Other than natural hurdles, Shameem is also worried that his religious identity, of that of a Muslim, might put him in trouble in certain places.
“Previously I never used to be scared. But, looking at the current situation, I am slightly scared because of the name I have,” he says.