… says Business Blogging CEO Kiruba Shankar who swears by the adrenaline rush that cycling gives him.
High on Kiruba Shankar’s priority list right now is successfully completing a Manali to Leh cycling expedition this month, between August 9 and August 20. “It’s an arduous uphill route through some of the highest roads in the world,” said the multi-tasking entrepreneur, as he revealed that his ultimate dream was to do a Trans-Europe cycling expedition.
“My interest in cycling was not inspired by Tour de France champions or those swish BMX Hollywood movies. It was a 70-something year old man from my village- a very wealthy landlord- who would cycle several kilometres to his farm every day. Even at that early age, it stuck to me that cycling was the route to success,” said Shankar. And while he admits to letting his cycle rust under the stairway of his hostel while in college (“I had to compete with Yamahas and Ind Suzukis- you can’t really take your girlfriend for a date on your cycle, can you?), he revealed that it was when he started working, that he went back to cycling. “My keen interest in sports was sparked off by my rowing successes (he captained the Sify Rowing Team to four consecutive championship titles- a record then, in the 144 years history of Madras Boat Club). To keep fit, I would cycle to the club every day and after rowing, I would cycle to office. Cumulatively, I was cycling 22 kilometres a day.”
Since then, Shankar has made a habit of taking off regularly on long bike rides, across the country. He said that his first really memorable bike ride was one that took him from Bangalore to Chennai- a distance of 360 kilometres. “We rallied a few cycling enthusiasts via social media and covered the distance in two days. That apart, I once completed 200 km in one day, when I participated in the Randonneurs Brevets event. My toughest cycling challenge was the Tour of Tamilnadu- a 850 km journey through various cities of Tamil Nadu- that I completed in seven days.” Has he taken part in any cycling contests? “I think competitions take the fun out of rides. Instead, I prefer to take part in adventure rides that test my physical limits. The best rides I have done have been in groups.”
His love for cycling apart, Shankar is also passionate about and has made a name for himself in a multitude of fields. For one, he is still regarded as one of India’s best-known bloggers and social-media experts, and he has also spoken at various forums such as TEDx Chennai (of which he was also curator) and also at institutes such as IIM and Anna University about the power of social media. About his role as CEO of Business Blogging, he said, “It is a social media consulting firm, which offers online digital strategies and executes projects for large companies. As a CEO, my primary role is to stitch together an amazingly talented team of passionate professionals. My vision is to make our services relevant and effective- to keep with changing times.” He has also co-founded F5ive Technologies, an open source web development firm and has recently gotten into digital books publishing, through his new firm, Verdure Books.
My favourite cyclist is Lance Armstrong. One, for the obvious reason that he fought testicular cancer spectacularly and continued winning after that. And, I also like him as an author.
Cycling for the businessman
Cycling is a wonderful way to unwind. It helps keep your mind fresh, in addition to keeping your body fit. I encourage all my employees to cycle, and have even provided restrooms at work, where they can shower after their rides.
Cycling: a lifestyle sport
With futuristic cycles for every need, body-hugging suits, stylish helmets and a plethora of hi-tech accessories- cycling is no longer a postman’s transport choice- it is a lifestyle sport.
Interesting new projects
I’m currently authoring my fifth book titled ‘Rings to Cubicles: Inspiring Lessons of Grit, Perseverance and Sportsmanship from Olympic Athletes for Corporate Professionals’. I intend to publish the book during the London 2012 Olympics.