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N Shashi Kumar IPS, the Police Commissioner of Mangaluru city police had a beaming smile when he flagged off the recently concluded Mangaluru Cyclothon organised by WeRC on Sunday, 8 January 2023. His fellow cycling mates with whom he’s been cycling for a fortnight knew the reason behind his newfound eagerness to participate in the cyclothon and ride among 1000+ cyclists far too well.

IAS officer and smart and energetic Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar never lets any reason or excuse stop him from doing something that he finds productive. So when he decided to pick up his bicycle and ride around the City, neither the long-distance nor the scorching heat of the sun could stop him from doing so. Mostly, all of us ignore healthy daily regimes by simply making an excuse of our “busy schedules”, stating that we don’t have the time to take care of our own health because of the amount of work piled up for us to complete.

But such is not the case with our Top Cop who rides his bicycle every day in the morning despite having a genuinely busy and hectic schedule ahead of his cycling spree. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein said – that Shashi Kumar has a great passion for cycling and has been enjoying this hobby by pedalling for fun and glory, and this sport has kept him moving for a better life. The Police Commissioner does not just cycle his way for the sake of being fit and healthy, but he actually enjoys it. Whenever he gets a little dollop of free time in his hands, he simply puts on his helmet, picks up his bicycle and goes cycling and exploring the city of Mangaluru.

The top cop not only started cycling in the mornings with the Mangaluru Riders, a group of cyclists but also notched up a couple of 100 km night rides. The recent feather to his cap is the 200 km ride he recently conquered. With a journey time of about 14 hours, the top cop has cycled for 10 hours at a whopping average of 20.8 kmph, with his hybrid bike, while most of the hybrid bike riders struggle to attain an average of 15-18 kmph during the 200km long journey.

It was 8:15 PM on a Friday evening when Shashikumar embarked on his journey towards Kundapur from Mangaluru and back. With his professional cycling gear, Shashi Kumar along with Veteran cyclist Joseph Pereira and budding cyclists Gleonna, Jeethan, Loy, Dickson, Darshit and Sambhav started off with good momentum from Pandeshwar towards the highway and never looked back. The group took a quick pit stop at the NIA cafe at Hejamady Toll before spinning towards Padubidri.

The group was so motivated and energetic that they skipped a scheduled pit stop at Udupi and raced towards Shastan Toll where they halted for a quick snack break. The team then made their way towards Kundapur and reached the destination at around 2 am before they decided to rest for about 45 minutes; hydrate themselves and recharge their batteries.

The team was so well prepared that they had enough spare lights and tubes, repair kits and power backups that they did not need a backup vehicle to assist. It was 3:00 in the early hours of Saturday when the team headed towards Mangaluru. The journey back was not easy with the rolling terrain from Koteshwar to Santhekatte. The team pulled it off with Shashi Kumar rearing to go at the pitstop at Udupi. The Team sped its way through Kaup, Ucchila before they took a hydration break at Hejamadi toll. After a quick breakfast stop at Surathkal, the commissioner returned to his residence at around 10 am to complete his quest of a 200 km ride.

Throughout the journey, the commissioner never felt exhausted or the need to take a prolonged break to recharge his batteries. This speaks volumes about the mental and physical strength of the top cop who never took part in an endurance ride previously. He was filled with energy throughout the ride and his constant pace of cycling only motivated his fellow riders to pick up the pace.

The 200km ride was a first for many riders in the group as well. Ace cyclist Joseph Pereira with his timely guidance made sure the next-gen cyclists passed the endurance challenge and came out with flying Colors. The Commissioner also made sure that the riders stayed hydrated and had some amazing conversations with the riders where he shared some stories of his yesteryears which only motivated his fellow riders to take up new challenges in life. Top Cop Shashi should have recently completed a ride on New Year’s Eve and called upon the cyclists to make cycling a regular habit has been on a great cycling streak for the past two weeks.

The group rides regularly in the early hours on weekdays and a 3- figure endurance ride on weekends. The Top Cop has also inculcated the habit of cycling for fitness amongst his family members and is slowly on the verge of becoming the face of cycling for youth in Mangaluru City. Not every day do you see a Decorated and Veteran Policeman stay true to their promises and act accordingly.

His maiden 100 km cycling ride from Mangaluru to Mala in Kudremukh, about 80 km on 30 December 2022. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Shashi Kumar said, “Taking up Cycling seriously for the past few days, it has contributed to my fitness as otherwise life is sedentary and there is not much time for the workout. Cycling has also become a Source of Enjoyment. I feel that a sedentary life is not good for health. I am not very sure if people will be willing to follow in my footsteps. And the reason behind this scepticism is that there have been a lot of times when people have shown their underlying interest in picking up their bicycles and cycling around the city for errands or going to work, but these statements usually end up in false promises only”.

Insisting that the present generation should take up Cycling he had said, “Another thing that disappoints me in today’s generation is the people who instantly sit in their cars or motorbikes to even go to nearby distances. I have enjoyed cycling since my school days, but I find the usage of motorbikes and scooters unhealthy for today’s youth. Road riding is a great outdoor fitness activity. But it requires some cycling savvy – and some basic safety smarts. Learning to ride a bike is one of childhood’s rites of passage. And they say that once you learn, you never forget. But just because you knew how to steer an Atlas or Fieldstar in grade school doesn’t mean you’re going to be entirely comfortable hitting the road as an adult cyclist, particularly if it means riding in city traffic. So in 2023 make a resolution, by taking up cycling along with other exercises to keep you fit and healthy. Wish you all a HAPPY and HEALTHY New Year 2023”.

We wish the commissioner good luck in his cycling endeavours and hope that his cycling achievements pave the way for more people from all walks of life to take up cycling for physical well-being!!

Edited by Alfie D’Souza, Team Mangalorean


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