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Rediff.com  » News » Pedal to the metal: One girl, 19 days and a 1,800 km bicycle ride to Kanyakumari

Pedal to the metal: One girl, 19 days and a 1,800 km bicycle ride to Kanyakumari

Last updated on: January 14, 2016 09:08 IST

Prisiliya Madan, 22, spent 19 days pedalling her way to the southernmost tip of India as she covered over 1,800 kilometres in the process.

Prisiliya who says the trip was a journey in self-discovery seems to have taken to heart Aristotle's idea of a peripatetic school where students could discover themselves as wandered about.  

Rediff.com takes a look that this young girl's journey which she hopes will inspire other young women to expand their horizons.

Prisiliya at the commencement of her long journey. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

When 22-year-old Prisiliya Madan set out on her bicycle from Panvel, 50 km from Mumbai, last month, she was confident that the months of training will help her make it to her destination Kanyakumari all by herself.

However, exact itinerary and a plan of where to stay at the end of every day's journey were missing.

All that Prisiliya, a student of Masters in Computer Sciences at a city college, had was distances and the gradients of roads etched in her mind, and a list of people on the way who could help.

Prisiliya stand before the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari. Photograph: PTI

After spending 18 nights during her 1,800 km pedalling journey at people's homes, not at hotels (she was meeting most of these people for the first time), Prisiliya reached the southern tip of the country on Monday evening.

Prisiliya journey will be an inspiration to many other girls who traditionally do not venture away from their homes. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

"I never felt alone or unsafe on the road. People used to come up to me and were eager to know about my journey, and many a time they persuaded me to visit their homes and motivate their women," she told PTI from Kanyakumari.

Prisiliya works on her bicycle which endured the long 1,800 kilometer journey. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

During these 19 days, which took her through some lonely stretches of the Western Ghats, she never faced any kind of threat though she was riding alone, Prisiliya quips nonchalantly.

Prisiliya's journey took her 19 days. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

She had organised the ride herself, with a little help from her father Dhananjay Madan, an accomplished adventurist, and a few close friends.

A selfie clicked during the long journey. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

It was going to be "a journey in self-discovery for pride", and she wanted to illustrate the need for young girls like her and women to get out of the confines of homes, she says.

Prisiliya as she enters the state of Kerala. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

Pedalling helped increase her "patience" and also the public speaking skills, she feels at the end of the ride.

During the arduous journey Prisiliya found comfort in the little things such as chocolates and cupcakes. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

Prisiliya spoke to the girls of at least three colleges in Kerala, impressing on them the need to look beyond academic excellence and indulge in journeys of their own.

Prisiliya organised the trip herself with some help from her father, who is also an adventurer. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

A Facebook page -- titled 'I' 'P'ride' -- helped her friends and family stay updated on the progress of her solitary pilgrimage. She had found many of the people at whose homes she stayed overnight through the social media.

During her trip Prisiliya spoke to girls at different colleges in Kerala where she spoke about the need to expand horizons. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

Before the ride, she had to teach herself the art of bicycle maintenance. It came in handy when the brakes of bicycle gave trouble towards the end of the journey.

Prisiliya has called the journey one of 'self-discovery'. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

She had earlier ridden bicycle from Kullu to Khardung La (600 km, which made it to the Limca Book of Records for the highest number of women riding along that route) and from Panvel to Puri (2,200 km) with groups of bicycle enthusiasts.

Another look at Prisiliya at the end of her long trip. Photograph: Prisiliya Madan/ Facebook

While riding uphill on the high-gradient slopes of the Western Ghats, her mountaineering training also helped her, she says.

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