Published: 20th October 2017
Cycling for the greater good: When Vinay Antony took to the wheels and cycled for a cause
We were intrigued to find out more about the journey, both metaphorical and literal, of Vinay Antony Payyapilly, who braved it out by riding through it all
Like most of us, Vinay Antony Payyapilly remembers the joys of cycling as a child. He recalls how, as children, we are allowed to ride only a certain distance away from home, but when that radius expands, "it's like a whole new world opens up and that's where our romance with the cycle begins," he says. Two years ago, Vinay rekindled this romance, primarily for health reasons. He weighed 125 kg and it was a cycle (along with a strict diet) that changed his life. He slowly started expanding his radius again, cycling for up to 100 km. After that, all he wanted to do was find a way to challenge himself further.
While walking wasn't interesting enough, I turned to cycling to lose weight two years ago
Vinay Antony Payyapilly
So, using the same medium, he undertook a journey that might help change the lives of children. "Children are our future and we have done enough to screw it up for them already," says the 45-year-old, explaining why he is passionate about this particular cause of uplifting underprivileged children. Payyapilly, in his first such journey, cycled from Hyderabad to Bengaluru on October 14, completing his journey on October 16. He started a fundraiser campaign on Ketto for `3 lakh, of which all proceeds will go to the Smyrna Fellowship Trust, focused on uplifting the lives of underprivileged children. And with him, his troupe of friends accompanied him in a car.
On the road: Vinay Antony Payyapilly before he undertook the journey
And even though rains were pounding the city regularly, it is not what had Payyapilly worried. He, in fact, chose to ride in October because of the weather. "I love the rains," he exclaims and as rode only from six in the morning to six in the evening; there was no way that the monsoon was going to rain on his parade (going by how the monsoons here are mostly timed around evenings). What he was worried about though was the stretch from Anantapur to Bengaluru, his final leg of the journey. "That route has steep climbs and sudden drops. The final day required all my strength," he says.
But Payyapilly had been cycling on Outer Ring Road every Saturday for the last month and a half which he believes prepped him enough for the highs and lows of the last day. Also, though he refers to himself as a ‘highway kind of a person’, the traffic had him slightly on edge. "I stuck to the left as much as possible," says the Hyderabad-based activist.
Friends indeed: Two of Payyapilly's friends who accompanied him on his journey
Much like Loganathan, Payyapilly's company too was very supportive. He works at Apposite Learning Solutions, a start-up where he is a technical writer and instructional designer, and they gave him the flexibility to undertake something like this. And as for the future, Vinay has a few plans, but they are all in the development stage. While he would love to take up more journeys like this one, he is considering the idea of making this an annual thing.