#RiseFromWithin: Tour de India: Conquering 6100 km on a bicycle | Tech Mahindra

Pramod begins our conversation by mentioning that he’s lost 13 kg over the past month. “Not to worry, I have more than enough time to make up for it,” he says cheerily. He’s just returned from conquering the Golden Quadrilateral – a 6100-kilometer-long stretch connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata – on his bicycle. Having been a TechMighty for 17 years, his tryst with cycling is one for the books. 



He’s always been athletic, donning the roles of a runner, half-marathoner, and a swimmer. But age and responsibilities get to all of us, and after marriage and kids, he inadvertently took a break from sports. However, he soon realized that he needed to get back to his old self: he started jogging, competing in corporate marathons, and improving his time, pace, and, most of all, his confidence.

Cycling becoming a part of his life, however, was a complete accident. When his son was in ninth grade, he asked his dad for a cycle so he could commute to his tuition easily. The new cycle fascinated Pramod. Although it was an inextricable part of his life in school and college, he hadn’t cycled since then. He found a sense of fond nostalgia wash over him and decided to take it for a spin; he’d roam around every weekend, cycling for 10-15 kilometers, visiting the TechM office and places nearby....until the day of the “fateful argument”. His son was annoyed. He needed his cycle to visit his friends and play, but he was stuck at home with his dad borrowing it all the time. “Buy your own,” he said, and so Pramod did. 

His beginnings with the sport were humble. He cycled to work for three years and even convinced fellow TechMighties to do the same. Along the way, he was introduced to the city’s bustling cycling community, which suggested that he try endurance cycling (riding for long distances ranging from 100-600 km). This distance seemed unimaginable to someone who’d cycled a maximum of 25 kilometers at a time.

(Little did he know, six years later, he’d conquer the grueling Golden Quadrilateral.) 

However, the question stayed with him – should he give endurance cycling a chance? He registered with the Indian franchisee of Audax Club Parisien (ACP) – a French club that conducts timed long-distance cycling events worldwide. He signed up for a 200 km event, riding behind the pack of experienced cyclists. At the 100 km mark, Pramod was struggling. This was obviously very different from the leisurely rides to the neighborhood grocery— now he had to race against time on a highway with lorries and a weather forecast far from ideal. Luckily, he finished within the time limit. Despite it being exhausting, he realized that this was the sport for him. “It was a real challenge, and it gave me real freedom. I was able to see the world as I moved,” Pramod says. His heart was set: cycling was now his way of life. 

Every morning for the past six years, he’s woken up at 04:30 AM (without an alarm, mind you :)) to cycle with his friends and watch the sunrise from the horizon. This moment stays with him throughout the day, keeping him positive and energized. After that first endurance event, he never looked back. Every year, he tackled a new distance, and soon, he had completed the entire gamut: 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 km (!). ACP awarded him the Super Randonneur (he proudly says that ‘SR’ is now his nickname), making him eligible to compete internationally.

He was happy, but his heart ached for another challenge— that’s when the idea of the Golden Quadrilateral came to him. He toyed with the thought for a year and eventually took on the challenge. He contacted the Cycling Society of India and spoke to cyclists who had completed the same course. There were several things to consider: route, weather, elevation, lodging, and more. Then came the most courageous step: approaching his manager, Manoj, for leave :). When he brought up the idea, Manoj was taken aback; “Is this even humanly possible?” he wondered, to which Pramod replied that every cyclist has a dream ride and that this was his. “Go, chase your dream,” replied Manoj – the best reply he’s ever received from a manager, quips Pramod. 

On December 1, 2021, he began his journey at the historical Victoria Memorial with all the fanfare and celebration he could hope for– 100 cyclists came to flag him off on the first leg from Kolkata to Delhi. His target? Two hundred kilometers a day – no easy feat by any means. 

Here are a few memorable excerpts from the expedition.

“After crossing a forest at the Jharkhand-Bihar border, I took a break at a nearby tea shop. There, I was approached by three college students who were quite bewildered— ‘we saw you cross that jungle alone on a cycle, and we were stunned.’ I told them about my trip and my mission to encourage people to take up cycling and save the environment. They seemed quite surprised but listened ardently. Before leaving, they gifted me chips and water from the store and wished me luck. It was incredibly touching, and I’m in contact with them to this day.”



As he crossed Bihar to reach Varanasi, and then Allahabad, he met a fellow cyclist who had begun his own trip across the Golden Quadrilateral – what a small world! They decided to join forces and traversed through the beautiful landscape of Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, and then, New Delhi. There, he met the wonderful TechM Noida Corporate Services team who felicitated him and bode him well as he took to Rajasthan. With a temperature of 6 degrees, he would bathe in freezing water every day, but his love for cycling kept him going. He even met a kind hotel owner who, upon hearing his story, packed him free food for the long journey ahead.

In Maharashtra, he dealt with the most challenging part of the Quad: the Lonavla-Khandala climb, where he “felt the might of the Western Ghats”. In Pune, he was reunited with his manager, Manoj, and the TechM Foundation, Josh, and Corporate Services teams. He’d only communicated with them via email and was incredibly touched by their support and encouragement. They bid him farewell early in the morning on the Chandni Chowk Highway, and then, he was off to the South.

Here, the blazing sun provided for a hostile welcome. His body was under extreme stress, having never experienced such temperatures before. Despite the intense sunburn, he maintains that Tamil Nadu was his favorite part of the journey. He didn’t speak the language but could still communicate with roadside vendors— “it’s because we can understand each other beyond the language barrier.” It’s why he loves India – every state is like a different country with its diverse culture and heritage, but at the end of the day, we’re human beings who empathize with each other. In Chennai, he was greeted by over 250 cyclists at Loyola College. It was his first-ever experience in the city, and he felt beyond grateful. He managed to share his experiences with the cyclist community, who gifted him a jersey that he will “cherish forever”.

Then, it was onto the longest leg, Andhra Pradesh – an 800 kilometer-long-stretch that took him over five days to cross. He even had a stroke of bad luck, nearly escaping an attempted robbery at night. Thankfully, he managed to scare the assailant and pedal away to safety.

The next stop: homecoming.



When he entered the West Bengal border and realized there was “only 250 km left” (his words, not ours :)) to reach Kolkata, he was ecstatic.

Closer home, he had friends waiting for him on the highway and recalls the joy of seeing familiar faces after 33 days on the road. They hugged him and celebrated his return to which he quipped – not yet, there’s another 80 km to go. It was the best ride of the entire trip. He didn’t need a sip of water; he didn’t pause for a second – the feeling of returning home was motivation enough. His family was waiting for him at the finish line. When he applied his brakes and put his feet on the ground, he looked up and thanked God.

A week later, he still isn’t used to home, and the itch to return to the road persists. “In my heart and mind, I’m still speaking to people I meet on the way about cycling, life, and everything in between.” He still thanks his son for asking him to buy his own cycle and is eager to take on Asia with Dhano next.

The day after his return, and every day since, he’s woken up at 4:30 to cycle to the horizon with his son and watch the sunrise.