Subu Narayanan, the man who walked 3,300km+ across India in 51 days to promote pedestrian safety, is joining the Tour de Bintan 2020. Read more below to find out about Mr Subu’s journey and inspires him.
My story began in 2017, when I was on a family vacation to Mauritius. Looking at our holiday pictures, I suddenly realised that I had grown so big that I dwarfed my entire family. Weighing 137 kg (258 lbs), I had a waist size of 44 and a shirt size of XXXL.
I decided I wanted to lose weight so I decided I would start walking 40-50 km on a daily basis, and after 3 months I had lost a whopping 70 kilos. After these 3 months I started encouraging people to walk more as a means of weight reduction but I came across many excuses, the main thing being road safety.
I then started doing some analysis on road safety and the number of fatal accidents in India and noted we have about 150,000 road deaths per year. This may not be much when compared to the population of India however, when you take the same number and divide it by the number of days in a year you come to a staggering number of 400, which means India has one plane crash every day and nobody was doing anything about it.
Subsequently, I started researching on the different road safety organisations in India and found out that although there were many, they didn’t seem to interact with each other. So, since we all shared a common goal to make India accident free, I decided to set up the ultimate walk challenge and get all involved.
My walk started from Kanyakumari (South of India) on the 28th of July and culminated at Jammu in Kashmir (North India) after total of 51 days.
The walk also encouraged other people to join in and they could donate their steps to show solidarity. In addition, we also made a film of the entire walk and handed it to the government so they could also do the necessary improvements on their end to increase road safety.
My goal was never to apply for any records or any feat, but simply contribute to society.
What were your motivations for signing up to the Tour de Bintan?
After I completed the India walk, I was invited for a ceremony in a university where I was awarded an Honorary doctorate for social work.
After the ceremony I was returning home and I was thinking to myself why do I need a 4000 Kilogram car to carry the 80 Kg me all the time and most of the fuel I am putting in the car is used only for the car and I should do something about it. More over the fuel which I was putting was borrowed from the next generation. This made me buy a MTB for commute purposes to office. However, after a couple of falls and 3 weeks later, I wanted to get more speed so went ahead and got a road bike and started riding it almost daily for 1-2 hours and 3 hours plus on weekends.
I started meeting many people from the cycling fraternity and started riding with them on a daily basis.
So here I am 7 months later with about 18000 Kms completed on Strava, I was looking for some venue to meet and experience a world cycling event to enjoy and experience the feeling and learn a lot from it and see how I could support my fellow cyclists in India with these lessons learnt.
Can you please also tell us how you heard about Tour de Bintan?
I have one of my cycling friends Mr Andrew Barker whom I ride regularly with and he recommended me to participate in the Tour de Bintan for the experience and the comraderies. Hence, I signed up immediately for the Tour de Bintan and it will the first event I participate in with UCI. It will be great to meet and make more friends and take all the learnings and share it among the cycling fraternity back in India to promote this sport to more people.