Even in their wildest dreams, Rajesh Magar’s parents couldn’t have imagined that their son would one day become a renowned mountain biker. The 21-year-old, whose mother worked as a housemaid and father as a construction worker, has come a long way from the times when buying a bicycle seemed like an impossible dream for him.
“I used to ask my mum repeatedly to buy a bicycle,” Magar told in an interview with National Geographic. He further added, “She’d give me hope, saying right now we don’t have any money, but she would buy me one when we do.”
Seeing his interest in bicycles, one of his mother’s employers gave him BMX bike. The 10-year-old Magar didn’t even know how to ride a bike back then, but constant practice made him a proficient.
A few years later, Magar started doing odd jobs and after he’d saved enough money, he bought himself a second-hand rigid mountain bike. He became so obsessed with biking that his mother sold his bike off to a scrap collector in a bid to get him to focus on studies. That didn’t deter him from getting to know about the sport more, however.
Eventually, he made a bicycle for himself using an old spring from a scooter and a GI pipe that’s commonly used for household plumbing. Magar was 17 by the time he ‘made’ his first racing machine. He rode the bike in his first race, the 2013 Nepal National Championship, and came in sixth.
Now 21 years old, this four-time Nepalese National Champion is being called Asia’s fastest mountain biker by National Geographic.
“I love everything about mountain biking,” Magar said in the interview. “When I’m on a bike, I forget about all of my life’s problems and issues. I appreciate nature, the trail, the bike… mountain biking takes me to a place where I feel totally free.”
A documentary made on him, RJ Ripper, by Joey Schusler, showcases Magar’s love for biking and his inspiring story. Having conquered Asia, Magar’s eyes are now on the world stage.
Watch documentary here: