Still Mighty at Sixty! The ‘Man of steel’ Pro-Cyclist Joseph Gregory Pereira Felicitated on His 5 BIG ( 50,000 Kms in three Years; 25,000 in 2021; 100 Rides of 100 Km in 105 Days; Hat-Trick Win in Trek India Century Challenge; and Super Randonneur Title in 2021) Achievements
Mangaluru: As they say “Age Is Just A Number”, where if you are capable of doing fun things that you used to do when you were in your teens or adulthood, you still can try doing them even in your late 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond. And here we have a perfect example of a man in his sixties, who has been pedalling and pedalling like a “Mean-Machine” and has succeeded in FIVE BIG achievements added to his Cycling credits in a short span of time. And this Young-Man of 62 years, is JOSEPH PEREIRA-the “Man Of Steel” who was honoured for his FIVE BIG Achievements namely- ‘50,000 Kms in three Years; 25,000 in2021’; ‘100 Rides of 100 Km in 105 Days’; ‘Hat-Trick Win in Trek India Century Challenge’; and ‘Super Randonneur Title in 2021’, uring a special function arranged by We R Cycling (WeRC), Mangalore Cycling Club (MaCC) and Mangalore Bicycle Club (MbC), held at Bendur Church Community Hall, Mangaluru on Sunday, 17 October at 8 pm.
You never forget how to ride a bike. Even if you haven’t cycled since you were in school, it’s not too late to ride again. But age doesn’t need to be a barrier to bike riding. Cycling has many benefits for more mature riders, many you may not have considered. Health benefits include slowing the ageing process, reducing the chance of falls in everyday life, improved mental health and overall improvements in wellbeing. At any age, Cycling Can Boost Your Mental Health; Boost Your Immune System; Slow Down the Ageing Process; Reduce Risk and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease; Less Stress on the Joints; Meet New People and Socialise More; among many other benefits. Need Healthy Lifestyle Benefits? Oh yeah, and I think as a regular Cycling enthusiast Joseph Pereira has all these benefits covered. So, if a mature man can achieve a lot of good lifestyle benefits, even the younger generation can follow in the footsteps of Joseph and gain such benefits.
It was a perfect celebration hosted by these three Cycling Associations with love and respect to one of their Cycling-Mate and was joined by Joseph’s fans and friends. The chief guest for the occasion was Deputy Commissioner of Police Hariram Shanker, with guest of honour Gracian Govias, the professional Cycling Coach from Chennai and joined on stage by Anil Shet, President of Mangalore Cycling Club and Sarvesh Samaga, President of We R Cycling. To mark the occasion delicious chocolate flavoured cake was cut by the celebrity cyclist of the day and the cake slices were shared between the dignitaries on the dais.
In his witty address to the audience, Chief Guest DCP Law & Order Hariram Shanker said, “My association with the Pereira couple, Joseph and Violet started when I had visited their apartment to adopt a Persian breed cat, and then we became close friends. It is amazing to note that Joseph at this age has covered so many kilometres all these years, and already this year has reached 25K, and by the end of this year he may reach close to 75K kilometres pedalling to glory. His achievements speak about his calibre and determination towards the cycling hobby. Even though he had a severe accident, he recovered and is back in action. I feel proud to be part of this celebration, and I want to follow in the footsteps of Joseph and take up cycling for a healthy lifestyle, even though I had done cycling as part of our police training. If my busy schedule permits me to pedal a few kilometres, I will surely take up the gauntlet”.
Addressing the gathering Coach of WeRC Gratian Govias, who had come all the way from Chennai to attend the function said, “I Met Joseph for the 1st time this morning. I am a coach and have trained cyclists at the state and national level, look at these numbers, even cyclists at the national level don’t match these numbers. They are truly jaw-dropping! At 62 it’s an even more amazing feat. At 40 if you have an injury within 3 to 4 days you recover, at 50 it takes 6 months and he had a serious injury at 61 and recovered in 6 weeks which speaks volumes for the importance to be fit and always be in good health”.
Gratian further said to the Chief Guest DCP Law & Order Hariram Shankar, “You were mentioning cycling and how you looked forward to cycling time in the police academy. I would like to tell you that I have spoken to Mr Sylendra Babu DGP, TN, about starting a police racing cycling team, you should consider having a Mangalore Police Cycling team and if possible a Karnataka Police team. I am happy to help with the selection and setting up of the team. Congratulations Joseph once again on your accomplishments and thank you for having me here”.
In his introductory speech, President of WeRC Sarvesh Samaga said, “Well, Joseph sir, is a man of such a stature that, he doesn’t require any introduction. However, it is my duty to formally introduce him to this august gathering assembled here to celebrate his achievements in cycling. Born in the year 1959, Joseph sir, worked his way up in the automobile & service industry, spending more than 25 years of professional life in the Middle East countries of Muscat, Saudi and UAE. Joseph sir is blessed with 2 lovely boys Ronak 29 yrs, who is pursuing PhD in Rocket Propulsion from Alabama University, USA and Astel 25 yrs, who is holding a Master’s Degree in HR and currently working in Dubai and a lovely wife Violet Pereira, who is dynamic, supportive, busy with her media assignments, but always willing to go that extra mile to see a smile on her man’s face!!”
Sarvesh further said, “In the year 2010, Joseph sir took voluntary retirement from his job in Dubai and returned to his home town Mangalore. Though he wanted to pursue his passion for cycling, the ever-increasing traffic, bad road conditions and safety aspects kept him away from getting on to the pedals. However, in 2018, a journalist friend who was doing his morning rides rekindled his passion for cycling and without thinking twice, Joseph sold his motorbike and went on to purchase his first road bike from ‘Track N Trail’. Like every new rider, initially, he could barely ride 10 to 15 km. However, his persistence with the bike and daily rides, made him lose weight from 90 kgs to 65 kg and a massive improvement in his cycling abilities and techniques. Later, he joined various bicycle clubs in Mangalore and started participating in club rides, events and races. His first major 100km ride was to Udupi & back followed by a gruelling 260km ride to Sakeleshpur, which he did secretary and informed his wife only after returning!! After this, there was no looking back for Joseph sir, who started clocking miles after miles, achieving milestones one after the other. Until today, Joseph sir has clocked 50,000 km in 3 years, out of which 25,000 km are clocked in 2021 alone 100 rides of 100km each completed in 105 days. Hatrick win in Trek India, century challenge (rides of 100, 200, 300 and 500km). In 2020, riding the BREVETS organised by the club WE R Cycling, an affiliate of AUDAX INDIA and AUDAX CLUB PARISIEN, Joseph sir achieved his first Super Randonneure titles after completing 200, 300, 400 & 600 km rides”.
Sarvesh also said, “Well, every rider’s bucket list is incomplete if it’s not riddled with at least one accident, and so too was Joseph sir. During one of his morning rides, Joseph sir got toppled at high speed on the slopy Infosys to Kottara road, leaving him with a broken collarbone and a couple of broken ribs. He underwent a couple of surgeries to fix the collarbone and punctured lungs and to everyone’s surprise, he was back on road within 1.5 months”.
“Joseph sir says, all these achievements were not possible without the support and encouragement of his family and his beloved wife Violet, who has tolerated and supported him all through, day in and day out,” said Sarvesh.
For me personally, Joseph sir has been my hero and the Iron Man for the sheer dedication & contributions he has been putting into this beautiful world of Cycling.
Addressing the gathering President MaCC Anil Shet said, “Mangalore is a perfect place for cycling and we are lucky to be born in this beautiful coastal city, we have riverside, beachside, Charmadi, Agumbe, Kundadri, Kudremukh Ghats for cycling. Cycling keeps you healthy, relieves stress and you look younger, an example is Joseph. When I started cycling there were very few cyclists in the city but now we have more than 1000 cyclists in Mangaluru and Udupi. Joseph sir is a very dedicated cyclist and rides regularly in the morning. I was riding with him when he was riding for his 100 rides of 100 km every day, but sometimes he used to ride 200 or 300 km but was counting as only a 100 km ride. But when he completed his 100 rides of 100 km, his total was 13,000 km. Today morning also he was riding with us and he rides very fast. So I told him not to stop but to continue his ride instead of going ahead and waiting for us, I told him to come back and join us together so that his time is not wasted. I wish Joseph sir all the very best and complete 1 lakh km as soon as possible.”
Addressing the gathering Member of Mangalore Bicycle Club Sunil Mendes said, “I started cycling before Joseph but I have completed only 20,000 Km. If I am able to sit on the saddle I can ride continuously but to sit on the saddle is a problem. Once Joseph sits on the saddle you don’t know when he stops, suddenly he goes 200, 300 km. He is enjoying cycling and so, today he has achieved a lot. I wish him all the very best”.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean about His journey in the Cycling adventures, Joseph Pereira said, ” In 2010, when I took voluntary retirement from my job in Dubai and settled down, I was very much interested in buying a bicycle. But looking at the traffic and the condition of the roads here, my wife was scared of me riding a bicycle in Mangaluru. Later, I felt that riding a bicycle was not safe here since I had not touched a bicycle since 1984. In 2018, a journalist friend of mine told me that he had purchased a bicycle and was going for daily rides. With always cycling in the back of my mind, I inquired with him about the price and, on the same day after finishing my work, went to ‘Track N Trail’ and purchased a new road bicycle with the money I had after selling my motorbike that was lying idle for more than a year. My solo rides began immediately, and with great difficulty, I could pedal 10 to 15 km. Slowly I began losing weight and saw an improvement in my performance with cycling”.
“Later I joined the Mangalore Bicycle Club and regularly participated in the club’s activities. Once, I went on a solo ride to Udupi, after which my confidence to pedal long distances increased. Next, without informing my wife, I pedalled all the way to Sakleshpur, a ride of about 260 Kms, and after that, there was no looking back. Being addicted to cycling, I would go on long rides wherever I would feel like going. In the year 2019, I joined WER Cycling and participated in several Brevets. On November 17, 2019, I participated in the WERC 300 km brevet”.
“The very next day, while I was going for a group ride with MbC, my bike, unfortunately, toppled at high speed down the Infosys to Kottara road, leaving me with a broken collarbone and a couple of broken ribs. My old friend Jossie Mendonca, who had come down from the USA and was riding along with me, immediately took me to the KMC hospital. As soon as my wife reached the hospital, she was shocked. After consulting with the doctor, I was shifted to KMC Jyothi, where I underwent a couple of surgeries to fix the collarbone and the punctured lungs. I was on rest until December 31, and from January 1, 2020, I was back on the saddle. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed cycling”.
“In 2020, I never expected that I would win the Trek India Challenge in all four categories – 100, 200, 300 and 500 kilometres. During the 500 km ride, there was a red alert announced due to heavy rains. I decided to try my luck despite the rains, and my wife assisted me in planning my ride. When I started my ride at 12:01 am, there was heavy rain. The rain continued almost throughout my ride for two days, and with great difficulty, I completed my last leg and emerged as the only participant to win in all four legs of the challenge out of the 3400 participants”.
“In November 2020, when WE R Cycling, an affiliate of AUDAX INDIA and AUDAX CLUB PARISIEN, organized the BREVETS DE RANDONNEUR MONDIAUX (BRMs). I was happy because this was a golden opportunity for me to earn the title of SUPER RANDONNEUR. Our event started on November 21, 2020, with the 300km BRM, which I completed in 13 hours 30 minutes, 400km in 19 hours 43 minutes, 600km in 32 hours 8 minutes and 200km in 7 hours 55 minutes. When I started cycling, I was obese, weighing about 90 kgs, cycling is a great way of losing those extra pounds, and now my weight is 65 kg. I had decided to earn the title of ‘SUPER RANDONNEUR’ this year, and I am happy to have achieved my goal with WE R Cycling making it possible for me. With determination and will, I think anyone can be a ‘SUPER RANDONNEUR’.
“600” km Brevet: I had developed saddle sores, and attempting the 600km BRM was a big challenge for me. Luckily, my wife Violet Pereira helped me solve the problem with homemade medicine and a few consultations with Dr Eshwar Keerthi of KMC Hospital. I started the 600 km ride at 5:30 pm on January 22 and reached the finish point at 12:30 am on January 24 with 11 km more to mark my 61 birthday. I dedicated the 600 km ride, the memorable and the longest ride, to my wife Violet, who made it possible. I also had tremendous support from fellow riders in lifting my spirit and encouraging me to ride. Since January 1, 2021, I have been riding 100 km every day and hope to finish 100, 100 km rides and a total of 10,000 Km within four months. I thank God for giving me good health. I also thank my family, especially my wife Violet, who has tolerated and supported me while going for long rides”.
When asked what his message would be to the cyclists, especially the youth, Joseph said, “My message to the youth is, if you want to remain healthy and save the environment, take up cycling and ride every day for 10 to 20 km. Commute by cycle to college and schools, and be the ambassadors of the green revolution”.
In conclusion, Cycling is an ideal exercise for improving balance. Keeping yourself and your bike upright helps with balance throughout the day. One of the main benefits of bike riding is strengthening muscles. Cycling is a great social activity. Many people ride with partners or as part of organised groups. The right equipment can make all the difference to stay safe on your bike. Gloves, long-sleeved tops and full-length pants can offer your skin some protection if you have a fall. If you are thinking of taking up cycling and you haven’t exercised in a while, consult your GP or an exercise physiologist for advice first. Take up the challenge, and be like Joseph Pereira- the Man of Steel!