Niharika is first woman to get 3 Super Randonneusse title

Chennai: Niharika – a mother of two, a a project manager, runner and a cyclist. But this does not make her different from any normal woman, read on to know what makes her special than others.

In a first-of-its-kind, Niharika is the first woman in the country to complete 3 Super Randonneusse (SRS) in one brevet season – that comprises of riding 200, 300, 400, 600 km thrice and getting the title thrice. It is learnt that riders take a few years to complete one SR, which this supermom did within few months of taking to cycling.

“When I began cycling three years ago, all I wanted to do is break shackles and achieve something that would empower the women community. As I started to take regular rides, I was motivated to stretch and go beyond my comfort zone,” says Niharika.

She kicked-off her triple SR adventure in November 2017 in Hyderabad and cycled through Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Rameswaram and took 11 months to complete.

It is a globally-accepted norm where a rider will be titled as a Super Randonneusse if the challenges are completed within the stipulated time. The 200 kms should be completed in 13.5 hours, 300 kms in 20 hours, 400 kms in 27 hours and 600 kms in 75 hours.

Talking about the scenic places she pedalled during the challenge, she says, “The stretch from Tiruchi to Dhanushkodi is one of the most beautiful stretches I have ever seen. Lined on either sides with white sand, the one-way road seemed endless and met with the horizon. The place was extremely serene and calm and even soothes the frayed nerves. It took some time for the body to get acclimatized to the weather as the shift was erratic – the sun was at its peak during the day and it rained heavily during the nights.”

Of challenges that she encountered, she goes on to say, “I met with an accident where a two-wheeler hit me on highways. I fractured my left hand and got stitches on chin.”

Though she was subjected to severe physical and mental trauma, she got back to the challenge within two weeks and she attributes it to resilience she possessed and the mental support that she received from her spouse.

Explaining about her journey of 600 km brevet in Hyderabad called “Into the Wild”, she adds, “It was adventurous ride where we passed through Kawal Wildlife Santuary during the day and through Narsapur forest during the night.”

The 42-year-old juggles between the roles of techie and mom by day and cycles during the dusk when she began her pedalling journey three and half years ago.

“I, initially, joined a local cycling club and spent the nights cycling on the highways. My family was apprehensive, as I have come across several stories of harassments and it was inevitable that they were concerned of my safety. I ensured I rode along with a couple of people and over time, they were convinced and started encouraging me,” says the cyclist, who now rides with ‘We Are Chennai Cycling Group – OMR Chapter’.

She further says that the journey that she has embarked on, has helped her in personal and professional life.

“Planning and time management are the two important values that riding has taught me and it has effected my life positively,” she adds.

Having completed a triple-SR and a 1000 km brevet in 2017-2018 which has always been her dream , she wants to participate in Paris Brest Paris (PBP) in 2019 and complete it successfully.

Bhavani Prabhakar