The Golden Quadrilateral, 2021

6263.1 kms, 41 days, 7 hours and 20 minutes

The Golden Quadrilateral is a network of national highways connecting Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai in four directions and is 6,263 km long. Velanker along with her ride partners managed to accomplish this feat in 41 days, seven hours and 20 minutes.

GQ Stats: Meera Velankar: 6362km | Entire GQ
Dinkar Patil - 3629.73 | Bangalore to Aurangabad(Bihar)
Utkarsh Varma - 2633.37 | Aurangabad(Bihar) to Bangalore

“I’ve been participating in unique (cycling) events in the last couple of years. I was looking to perform a challenge that nobody had attempted earlier and that’s when the idea of doing the GQ route on a tandem cycle came to me,” she says.

Meera Velankar and Dinkar Patil hoped to finish the entire stretch in under thirty days, if all goes well, peddling their way through Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai on a tandem cycle.

On Day 20 of her journey across India's Golden Quadrilateral on a tandem cycle, Dinakar had to quit because of a family emergency. Suddenly, Velankar was left with a bike that could not be paddled by a single person and nearly 3,000km from Kolkata to Bengaluru to go. Velankar and her riding partner had already clocked nearly as much distance since they left Bengaluru on 19 June. It would likely be the first time anyone on a tandem bike has covered the Golden Quadrilateral, which touches the big 4 metros—Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Velankar’s enthusiasm rested entirely on this fact. “If someone told me along the way that this route has already been done on a tandem bike, I wouldn’t cycle another kilometer,” Velankar tells me. “My motivation for this journey was its uniqueness.” Now, here she was, halfway through the journey, without a partner.

A friend who had offered to host them, told Velankar about Utkarsh Verma—a professional cyclist and mountaineer from Varanasi who had already cycled across the GQ route she was attempting. Velankar was unsure of whether the partnership would work. Verma was almost 20 years younger than her and had completed the route just a few months earlier in January 2021. But she got in touch anyway. As luck would have it, he was in Aurangabad at the time, and more than willing to join her for the rest of the journey. In a matter of a few hours, he was packed and ready to go.

Apart from the major roadblock, there have been several other challenges too, accentuated by the fact that they are travelling without an escort vehicle or a crew or even a backup bike. Their bike has seen 17 tire punctures through the course of the journey so far. Travelling without a support vehicle means that when this situation arises, the partners have to deal with it themselves, with one hitchhiking to the nearest repair shop, while the other waits by the highway with the 22kg bike.Throughout the trip, weather has also posed a constant challenge.

“You just have to try to see the positives and tell yourself that if it’s raining, at least it may not be too windy. If it’s windy, at least it’s not too sunny.” It’s a mindset that seems to define Velankar’s entire journey—across the Golden Quadrilateral highway and beyond.

She is hoping her achievement would inspire other women, married or single, to take on challenges, which the society feels are only for men. “If a woman of my age pursues an endurance sport, she has to face questions like ‘Why are you doing this?’ But I urge women to set their goals and not be bothered by such skepticism,” she signs off."

I am absolutely driven by the fact that what we are doing is unique, No one has done this route before on a tandem bike.

Media Highlights
  • Ohioraamshow / Oct 3, 2021

    #406 Meera Velkanar (India) talks about tandeming India's Golden Quadrilateral

  • Hindustan Times / Jul 3, 2021

    Ex-serviceman, mother of two set out on 6000-km tandem cycling trip

  • Lifestyle Livemint / Jul 11, 2021

    How two cyclists took on the Golden Quadrilateral on a tandem bike.

  • Deccan Herald / Aug 03, 2021

    Bengaluru woman cycles across Golden Quadrilateral on a tandem.

  • Bangalore Mirror / Aug 02, 2021

    Meera Velankar becomes one of the first Indian women cyclist to cover the Golden Quadrilateral stretch in less than 41 days on a tandem cycle.

  • The Working Athlete Podcast - Spotify / Aug 07, 2021 / 70 mns

    Perseverance Despite Many Odds, A Mom of Two, Meera Velankar's Journey Towards Finishing 6000km GQ.

  • #Inspiring Moms - Interview / Aug 15, 2021 / 16 mns

    Mom cycles Kanyakumari to Kashmir and breaks the societal barriers.

  • CNTraveller - Jul 22, 2021

    6,000km on a tandem bike. Midway, her partner had to quit.

With Utkarsh Varma


1111 kms to Chennai


The Beauty of the ride