Dubai resident Arcot Nagaraj cycled for 135 days to set a Guinness record for the longest bicycle ride in a single country. TessyKoshy meets themanwhois already planning another trip
The temperature was a sizzling 43°C. A thin stream of sweat trickled down Arcot Nagaraj’s back as he struggled to balance his black bicycle loaded with 18kg panniers filled with everything he needed for his journey of more than four months. It was dusty, and the 37-year-old Dubai resident struggled to breathe.
But Arcot was not deterred. He began to pedal faster on the lonely stretch of road on the outskirts of Nellore, a town in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. “Don’t give up,” he kept telling himself. “You’re almost there.” He had been cycling for 134 days over bumpy lanes in the blazing sun, up mountainous roads in rains, through thick fog, finally coming full circle back to his hometown in Hyderabad to fulfil his childhood dream – of cycling into the prestigious Guinness World Records book.
It took him six months – during which he clocked up 14,197.55km to become the only man in the world to do the longest journey by bicycle in a single country. He rode 762 hours, averaging 105km per day through 19 Indian states and Union territories covering more than 900 cities, towns and villages to complete his epic ride. By the end of the journey, he had lost 22kg “but I was fitter and mentally was happy to have fulfilled one of my dreams”.
He was first inspired to hold a GuinnessWorld Record as a child when he watched the TV show. “I was always in awe of the adventures people did to earn a name in that book and I secretly vowed to get my name in it one day,” he recalls.
After graduating in commerce, Arcot arrived in Dubai in 1999. Starting off as an accountant in a construction firm, he rose to become manager; but he always felt