Having completed the opening Australian chapter of her journey, Vedangi is now cycling in New Zealand. Up next is Canada.
Vedangi Kulkarni, who is attempting to be the fastest woman cyclist to go around the planet unsupported, has completed the initial Australian leg of her journey.
At the time of writing, she was cycling in New Zealand. She reached Wellington on August 11.
Vedangi had commenced her journey in Perth on July 17. In Australia, she covered 5631 kilometers from Perth to Brisbane before flying to Wellington. During the Australia leg, she lost roughly five days to stomach ailment and work related to securing visa for the stages ahead.
“ She is now happy and doing well. She has recovered from that bout of ill health and her performance has been improving,’’ Vedangi’s father, Vivek Kulkarni, told this blog on Sunday (August 12). She is expected to cover around 1000 kilometers in New Zealand, starting in Wellington and eventually ending in Auckland. How the journey pans out on a daily basis is Vedangi’s call as cyclist proceeding unsupported and making her own decisions. Once the New Zealand segment is completed, she will proceed to Canada. Her documents for this leg are in place. The lingering visa problem pertains to the Europe section of the journey, which follows Canada. It is being addressed, Vivek said.
According to him, Vedangi had her bicycle serviced in Adelaide and Brisbane. “ Whenever she finds a good service center, she avails the opportunity to get her bike checked,’’ he said.
As per information available on Vedangi’s website, her journey of 18,000 miles (approximately 29,000 kilometers) will be attempted in four stages. The first stage covered Australia and New Zealand. The second stage was expected to see her cycling across Alaska and Canada but will now most likely be Canada alone with Vedangi putting in the additional distance required in Canada itself. The third stage spans Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and Mongolia. The fourth and last stage covers China and the trip back to where she started in Australia. Given the fact that all required visas cannot be applied for and obtained well in advance, the exact route of Vedangi’s expedition has to stay open to adjustments as her journey progresses.
Vedangi, 19, is currently a student at Bournemouth University, UK. She spent some part of her early childhood in Panvel (not far from Mumbai); later she attended Jnan Prabodhini school at Nigdi near Pune. Her family now resides in Kolhapur. The circumnavigation plan assumed shape sometime in September-October 2017. Vedangi’s circumnavigation attempt will take her across 14-15 countries, the final number depending on how the route is affected by visa availability. A film is being made on her journey. There will be a film crew meeting her at various points on the way.
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)