Four Bangladeshi cyclists, Drabir Alam, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Alauddin and Rakibul Islam, wanted to make the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh's month of victory special by achieving a Guinness world record.
And that's exactly what they did as they broke the record for the 'greatest distance cycled in 48 hours by a relay team'.
Their target was 1,600 kilometres, to create the record, but they managed even more - 1,670 kilometres - from December 8-10, 2021.
All four are members of TeamBDC, a Bangladeshi amateur cycling team that has been trying to promote cycling in Bangladesh via various events and competitions for the past 11 years.
The Business Standard spoke with Drabir Alam and Rakibul Islam to talk about their record and how it came about.
"So during the pandemic, since most of our other events and activities were off, we decided to look into Guinness records and which ones we could attempt to break. After some searching, we found this record which had never been done before. The minimum requirement for the record to be made was to cycle 1,500 km, according to the Guinness guidelines. So we started to prepare for it and train for it for one and a half years," explained Drabir.
He then spoke more about the process of how the record was made and what the challenges were.
The Guinness authorities had gone through various evidence collected during the record for nearly a month after the record.
They had to put together video footage of 48-hours from six cameras, certificates signed by thirteen witnesses, a surveyor's report, numerous photos, GPS ride data and much more.
"The guidelines for this record were very strict and we had to show video evidence to Guinness for this record to be taken as a legitimate one. Plus, we had to find a location that we could use for the record and we found it in Purbachal. Then, there were the logistical challenges of staying there and eating and it was a big team of around 150 members who helped us in this record. Thankfully, Dabur came in to help sponsor us for the record."
How the record was made
Even though the record was done by four cyclists, they were supported by almost 50 volunteers to help them and training everyone for the record was the biggest challenge.
"So the job of the volunteer riders was to give us company because cycling alone, especially at night would have been more challenging. We made sure that having volunteer riders didn't go against any rules and there would be groups of three volunteer riders to tag along with us from time to time," said Rakib.
"Movement Solutions BD helped us with the fitness test and body composition analysis routinely. We set our cycling training volume, strength exercise and optimum nutrition plan in a scientific approach. The work and effort put into those eight months with a structured plan helped build the strongest and fittest team of four," Rakibul explained.
"At first, we only had a plan written on what we were going to do. But as we started to train, and more people joined us to help create this record, we became more confident of achieving our target. We made sure that we didn't take any risks and thankfully we managed to get the record done without any accidents. In the end, we managed the record and felt that we could go further. So that's why we went more than the 1,600 km target we set ourselves."
The challenges and experience
While it was a challenging task, reaching the record, in the end, wasn't as difficult, especially with the preparation the four cyclists had, and also the support they got from different people from all over the country.
"People from different parts of Bangladesh - Cumilla, Sylhet, Chattogram - and many other places in the country came to see us do the record. They tried their best to cheer us up with songs and made sure we were always in good spirits. They never made us feel like we were alone," Rakib said.
But he adds that there were some challenges too, especially during the second day when it was raining.
"With cyclone Jawad's aftermath and the rain in this cold, it was tough, especially at night. We were shivering, but we had no choice but to continue if we wanted to make the record. But overall it was such a fun experience, and especially to be able to make the record with ease, in the end, we felt over the moon to have been able to do something great in the month of Victory."
What lies ahead
Team BDC now wants to popularise competitive cycling among more and more people.
"We've been to India, Thailand and Sri Lanka to participate in competitive cycling and we want more events in Bangladesh. We also have a national cycling scene. Our next target is to participate in the nationals. We have a good relationship with the Bangladesh Cycling Federation. We want to make sure that we have more people taking part in cycling competitions," Drabir concluded.