Cycling is not a sport that is popular in India, but 19-year-old Vedangi Kulkarni could change things. The Pune-born cyclist wants 2018 to be a special year. The last few months of 2017 have seen her ride hundreds of kilometres on her bicycle, in pursuit of her dream.
She now wants to be the youngest and fastest woman to cycle around the world by completing a 29,000-km solo journey in 130 days.
The solo journey will take her across all continents, except South America and Antarctica, and put her through testing conditions.
“It is going to be super cool, I am very excited about it,” said Ms. Kulkarni, who studies sports management at Bournemouth University.
She recently set out on a 1,400-km ‘training ride’ from Mumbai to New Delhi.
The young cyclist who plans to start her global journey in June 2018 from Perth in Australia has divided the expedition into five phases. In the first phase, she will cycle across Australia upto Brisbane. And for the second phase, she will take a flight from from Wellington to Auckland.
From Auckland, she will fly to Anchorage in Alaska in the U.S., and cycle eastward to Montreal.
After a flight to Lisbon, she will undertake the most arduous part of her ride — a 14,520-km stretch across Europe and Asia that will take her through 10 countries before reaching Ulan Bator in Mongolia. Ms Kulkarni will then fly back to Perth.
“There are certain [Guinness World Records] norms in order to qualify. I am adhering to them,” she said.
Training is key
Paola Gianotti’s 2014 record of cycling around the world in 144 days will certainly be on her mind. In the men’s category, Mark Beaumont holds the record for completing the journey in 78 days. In her school days, Ms Kulkarni, who was a keen footballer has accomplished a solo ride along the Manali-Leh- Khardung La route in 2016.
“I met very interesting people and read a lot before finalising my plans. You need help because of the huge amount of logistics involved, and I am alone all through the journey,” she said.
The young cyclist intends to meet potential sponsors and also government officials in New Delhi for the paperwork.