Racing ahead

Jagannath Moorthy (left) and Vasu Mishra started the Bangalore Bicycle Championships pic/ Shreelesh Kumar

Not so. Meet Jagannath Moorthy (38), a relaxed IT delivery manager, who started the Bangalore Bicycle Championships, popularly called BBCh (www.bangalorebicyclechampionships.com).

Jagannath launched BBCh a couple of months ago along with Vasu Mishra (27), a data warehousing professional. Jagannath himself took to cycling barely 18 months ago. “I am a little overweight,” he says in a matter-of-fact manner. “I took to cycling because jogging was hurting my knees.” But in late July, he had 60 people race in the off-road third stage of BBCh called ‘Play in the Mud’, which took place in a forest on the outskirts of Bangalore. Many of the participants did slide and crash around on sand banks and into trees. They went back with bruises and grand stories to tell – the ultimate scorecard for a cyclist – thanks to Jagannath and Vasu. And, every participant is itching to return for more.

Jagannath had no prior exposure to racing. He just happened to read a post on a discussion board about a bicycle race in Chennai and mentioned to Vasu, an avid cyclist himself, that maybe Bangalore should also consider organising a competitive event. So they dashed off a mail to the cycling community talking about a race near Chandapura. It was an exciting initiative: 40 people turned up. By the time they announced the second stage – a gruelling race to the top of Nandi Hills – they had 70 people participating. “Everyone was excited and happy. They wanted more,” says Jagannath. Now, the races have been turned into a monthly affair. “We talk big, but can’t follow it up with action to match,” says Jagannath, who has adjusted the focus of his radar to a small and manageable event, driving the races through healthy voluntarism and the belief that anything fuelled by genuine enthusiasm will fly.

His logic is working. BBCh now has a near-cult following. Vasu believes that BBCh will “instill the feeling of being part of a community among the bikers of the city.” And who knows, it just may become the leading bicycle race in the country. Interested bicycle champs and other happy masochists can write to the director@bangalorebicyclechampionships.com or join them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bngbikersclub

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