Nilgiris tour to take off tomorrow

 It’s that time of the year when cycling enthusiasts eagerly look forward to sweat it out and pedal their way to conquer exciting destinations.

The fifth edition of Montra Tour of Nilgiris’ (TFN), the country’s longest cycling event, will be flagged off on Sunday from the Sullivan Police Hockey Grounds here.

Eighty-five national and international cyclists, including eight women riders, will pedal to Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and back over a period of eight days.

They will tour Mysore, Madikeri, Sultanbathery in Kerala, Ooty and Mettupalayam in Tamil Nadu, and Chamarajanagar. Their itinerary includes three wildlife sanctuaries - Bandipur in Karnataka, Wayanad in Kerala and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu.

Sridhar Pabbisetty, co-founder, TFN, said, “Today, we have people not just from around the country, but also from the world over taking part in the tour to test their endurance over these eight days under various conditions and take back a lot of fond memories.

Through TFN, we hope to promote eco-tourism, an environmentally friendly way of travelling and a fun way to keep fit.”

This year, too, there will be a competitive section on certain climbs and flat courses. The cyclists will ride a distance of not more than 25-40 km on any day. The rest of the day’s ride will be non-competitive and can be ridden at one’s own pace, or with others, while indulging in the beauty of the landscape.

There are attractive gift hampers - sunglasses, roller bags, backpacks, bikes among others - lined up for the winners of the competitive lap.

Tour of Nilgiris tests not only the cycling skills of the riders, but also their physical and mental endurance to a great extent. “This time, we received over 400 applications, out of which only 85 were selected after a series of fitness screening procedures and tests. The event is one of the fun ways of promoting fitness, tourism and creating awareness on reducing carbon footprint,” said an official of TFN.

The participating cyclists will be provided with individual times on a leader-board at the end of the day and their cumulative timings will be recorded as the tour progresses.

“I have been cycling for many years and hence decided to take part in TFN, which is a perfect platform for upcoming cyclists. I am looking forward to taking part in the event as I will get to check my capabilities while riding uphill and downhill,” said Anuja Jain, one of the participants.

The Tour of Nilgiris is organised by Ride A Cycle Foundation, which is committed to popularising cycling for commuting, leisure and as an agent of social change.

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