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Meet the Bangalore-based neurosurgeon whose ‘love affair’ with cycling takes him places

Dr Arvind Bhateja, who is an avid cyclist, embarked on his cycling journey following his participation at the Tour of Nilgiris in 2009.

Published: 05th October 2021 12:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th October 2021 12:19 AM   |  A+A-

Bicycle

Representational image

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Tour of Nilgiris, (2009, 2011, 2016), Tour of Friendship, (2016, 2019), Giro delle Dolomiti (2015, 2019), Tour of Bintan (2018), Bangalore Cycling championships – these are just some of the noted achievements of neurosurgeon Dr Arvind Bhateja’s. The senior doctor who works at Sparsh Hospital has participated in numerous significant cycling events over the years. 

Bhateja, who is an avid cyclist, embarked on his cycling journey following his participation at the Tour of Nilgiris in 2009. “I heard about this tour, which goes through three states, including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The eight-day tour covers about 1,000 km. I covered over 150 km every day, passing through the Western Ghats and also encountering some animals on the way. This is when I took cycling seriously and started training regularly,” says Bhateja, whose first mountain bike was Marida. 

Describing his relationship with cycles as a ‘life-long love affair’ which he never wants to give up, Bhateja tells us that rain or shine he cycles to hospital. The owner of eight bicycles, he finds this mode to be the fastest way to get to work in case of medical emergencies. In the last two years, Bhateja has clocked 13,000 km each year. “On weekdays, I usually stick to indoor training. On weekends, I usually ride to Nandi Hills from home and back, covering 80 km. Sometimes, I also ride on the Old Madras Road and Nelamangala town,” says the 52-year-old, who has, so far, done over 7,000 surgeries to date.

Bhateja also believes that neurosurgery and cycling are similar in many ways. “Very often in neurosurgery you are tasked with a challenging tumour on which I spend nearly eight hours in the operation theatre. In the end, if the patient recovers it is very satisfying. Similarly, it is daunting to start a 100 km ride in the morning, but once I get through the initial discomfort and pain, the end result is very satisfying,” says Bhateja, who gave running a try before swerving towards cycling. 

The pandemic, however, did cast a shadow, leaving him infected with Covid-19 during the first wave in 2020. While the lockdown posed a challenge, forcing him to cancel most of the cycling events he had signed up for, he decided to take the digital route to keep fit.

“Days after recovering from Covid-19, I started ‘virtual everesting’ with an indoor cycling setup, using an app called Zwift. It is a workout where you have to achieve the same elevation as that of Mt Everest. I could manage to achieve only 80 per cent of it with a riding time of 12 hours,” says Bhateja, adding, “Getting Covid is not the end of the world. My wife is a general physician who supported me throughout and when I felt I was unable to move, I decided to pull the plug on the attempt.”

So, how does he make time for all of this? “If you are passionate about something, you will find time. It is not all that hard,” Bhateja signs off.



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