Margao-based Xaxti Riders took bicycling one notch higher. On Sunday, November 5, 2023, a record 500 cyclists participated in the Xaxti 100 km and 35 km rides organised by this hugely popular cycling club.
While Xaxti-100 is the annual signature ride, the club this year introduced the Super 35 km ride as a unique platform to encourage younger cyclists. As many as 32 children under the age of 15 participated in Xaxti-100 and Super 35 cycle rides.
Sameer Nadkarni, President of Xaxti Riders, who is an avid long-distance cyclist said, “This speaks volumes of how much cycling has become a part of life in this tiny state of Goa.”
The riders included doctors, lawyers, architects, business and IT persons, students, and teachers, among others. The eldest to participate was 81-year-old retired defence personnel Ajit Guglani, while the youngest cyclist was 9-year-old Gaurik Chodankar.
The event saw many senior government, defence and police officials ride alongside the regular cycling enthusiasts.
Some of the top officials who completed the rides included Ajit Roy, IAS, Secretary to Chief Minister; Irshad Agha, South Goa Principal District Sessions Judge; Arvinder Singh Sawhney, CO 2STC & Commandant Goa Military Brigadier; Col Charanjit Singh Chahil, CO of 3MTR; Sushil Madhuk, IRS Director Income Tax (investigation); Rijula Uniyal, IRS, Jt Director Income Tax (investigation); Akshat Kaushal, IPS, SP Traffic; and Salim Shaikh, SDPO Vasco.
The annual cycle rides organised by Xaxti Riders have become popular, not only in Goa, but also countrywide attracting cyclists from all over India. This year 55 riders from Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Karwar, Coorg and Raichur, participated in the cycling events organised by the club.
The club has been instrumental in scouting new talent and inspiring young people to take to the road. Over the years, it has built up a sizeable biking community. It has been organising specifically curated, 100 km and 50 km rides annually for women, titled ‘Go Girls Go’.
“The aim is to showcase the spirit of sisterhood and bonding as well as make women realize their capabilities,” explains ‘Go Girls Go’ coordinator Binota Nadkarni, wife of Sameer.
The cyclists, aged 10 to 70 years, comprise professionals from different faculties. Mothers and daughters ride together, bridging the generational gap through the power of the road and the lure of the wheel.
The club has been equally active in encouraging intellectually-disabled children by donating cycles. It has joined hands with the organizers of Special Olympics Bharat to train Goan cyclists for World Special Games.
In 2020, the club launched Xaxti Racing to boost the competitive cycling culture in Goa. “Already a number of our cyclists have participated at the state level,” asserts Sameer Nadkarni.
Xaxti Riders scouts for talents from South Goa and provides expert training as well as other support so that these energetic cyclists represent Goa at the national level, reveals Nadkarni.
Xaxti Riders organises Goa’s toughest cycling challenge, Xaxti-200 annually. The gruelling endurance ride involves more than 200 km of cycling atop a total elevation of 2,600 meters – equivalent to 30 per cent of Mount Everest’s height – to be completed within 14.30 hours.
Nadkarni has been an avid cyclist for more than a decade and he feels Goa with its open roads and fresh air is a place where cycling can prosper and become a way of life.