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

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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

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