KOCHI: It will be a test of their stamina and endurance, but all the eleven cyclists from India who will be taking part in the Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) are game for it. What makes the team special is not just the presence of a female cyclist but also the fact that all the participants are from Kochi. “We all are professional cyclists and associated with Cochin Bikers Club,” said Abraham Clancy Ross of Cochin Bikers Club. “These cyclists have been selected as per the criterion set by Audax Club Parisien, which is one of the oldest cycling clubs in the world,” said Abraham.
The event which is held once every four years in Paris is the oldest and the most prestigious ultra-endurance cycling event in the world. “Started in 1891, the 1,220-km ride attracts riders from over 70 countries and is the precursor to the famous Tour de France. It was in 2013 that Cochin Bikers Club entered into a tie-up with Audax Club Parisien,” said Abraham.
According to him, the cyclists who want to take part in the event have to become a Super Randonneur (SR). “To be an SR, one must complete a series of endurance rides (200, 300, 400, 600 km) called Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRM) in a single season organised by any cycling club authorised by the organisation,” he said.
Cochin Bikers Club cyclists have been taking part in the event since it was licensed by the Audax Club Parisien. This year, the club's brigade comprises Priyadarshani Pawar, Commander Deepak Varghese, Rajesh Ramachandran, Felix Agustine, Leju K D, Jayaprasad, John Ralph, Gangesh Balakrishnan, Shinaj P S, Ratheesh Upendran, and Dr Shaji George along with Sarath Mohan (an independent rider).
According to Priyadarshani Pawar, the lone female cyclist in the team, cycling has become an addiction. “I began cycling as a fitness regime one-and-a-half-years ago. However, now it has turned into a passion,” said Priyadarshani.