Traveller, Runner, Cyclist and a Doctor. Meet Ankit Bhatia, a practising Pulmonologist who dons many hats.
From wearing stethoscope to buffs, to DSLR’s round the neck; Ankit is a young and dynamic professional battling on the frontline to cure Covid positive patients.
Work-life amidst Covid:
As a specialist’s in addressing lung diseases, Ankit is attached to a super speciality hospital in Delhi. Having 11 years of experience with core expertise in handling cases with lung infections, Ankit is one of the many staffs on duty in the Covid isolation ICU and attends to emergency patients who comes with Covid like symptoms. Ankit performs an active role in consulting other departments on the line of treatment required to cure the patient.
Recently, Delhi has seen a surge in number of Covid patients and it’s becoming difficult for the health care officers as more and more people are getting admitted.
“With PPE Kit and air conditioners switched-off, its very tough to work at a stretch for 6-8 hours without water and food but cycling experience is helping me to cope with the situation” explains Ankit.
Ankit feels more worried about his parents than himself, and takes extra care to avoid carrying any kind of infections back home.
When asked, what motivates you? he replied, “If your profession is your passion than it becomes a lot easier to deal. Guys like us enter medical field purely because of passion. When I’m treating a patient and see him/her recover, that gives me enormous satisfaction”.
“Everyday has to be something meaningful, a new challenge and my field offers sufficient opportunities to do my bit for the society, and that’s what brings contentment”.
“I love travelling and am fortunate my profession gives me real chances to travel around the world for medical conferences and otherwise. I try to secure scholarships, grants and visit those countries and go for sightseeing”, he unravels.
Ankit and his better half have a common affinity for back-packing, “a trip was planned for Prague but it had to be cancelled due to Covid”, clarifies Ankit.
Ankit has travelled to many countries in Europe, South-East Asia, USA, Middle-East, and explored most parts of India.
Born in North-East and having spent his childhood in the mountainous hills, Ankit did his studies in Western part of India in Gujarat and completed post-graduation in Lucknow following up with a stint in the UK.
Ankit and his family travels abroad and within the country twice a year.
“The best part of travel is that I get to research extensively, learn the local language, identify places to see, check out night life, accommodation etc. and I enjoy planning my itinerary”, Ankit adds.
Running and Cycling:
Ankit started cycling 4 years ago. In 2016, he got a bonus from his workplace which he invested on a Firefox bicycle. A month later, his cousin brother Nikhil also joined him. They both started cycling in simple T-Shirts, Pyjamans and Chapals.
Next, they linked-up with a cycling group ‘East Delhi Ryders’, and were too impressed with the long rides and the high-end bikes used by the group members.
Inspired by the MAMIL crowd, they looked upon the urban lycra clad as role models, and slowly aligned with them for 100/200 km rides.
“Running happened as I wanted to participate in a Duathlon (New Delhi Triathlon Championship), 5km of running and 20 km of cycling. At that time, I could barely run for 500 meters at one go”, recalls Ankit.
He started training for the duathlon and later ran Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and followed up with the gruelling Tata Mumbai Full Marathon.
Describing his 1st major running event Ankit says, “I was in UK and practiced in cold conditions for the full marathon that had to be ran in humid climate of the Island city. But I completed the 42 km run in little over 5 hours, family and friends lauded my effort”.
Now Ankit participates in 3 to 4 half marathons a year, and runs with his cousin Nikhil. They have formed a close group and practice in Commonwealth Village during winters, while cycling happens rest of the year.
Ankit got going as a beginner cyclist and evolved with experience into endurance space. He got into the BRM’s, and his 1st Brevet was in 2017, “it rained heavily for entire 200 kms, I even fell down and somehow managed to complete the challenge”, recalls Ankit.
Subsequently, he made successful attempts with 400 kms and 600 km Brevets.
Ankit believes “long rides are unsafe and takes a lot of time. I have to take breaks from work to prepare and be on roads for that many days. Therefore, now I have started short and fast rides with ‘East Delhi Velo’, another cycling group”.
I did a rapid fire QnA with Ankit and his responses are quick and sharp:
Which bicycle you currently own?
I presently own a Cannondale Supersix evo 105 – a light and fast bike.
What attracts your more, Bicycle touring or Racing?
I started with touring and brevets but have recently picked-up interest in racing in view of time constraints of my profession.
One country you wish to cycle?
I have done rides in the UK but could not explore the “Lake District” area – would love to ride there once in a lifetime.
Who inspires you in cycling industry?
The GCN show presenters on YouTube has been a revelation in inspiring cyclists like me. They really make you explore the details of your pursuits.
Your best cycling buddy?
I started riding with my cousin brother Nikhil who has been there throughout my journey. Jatin, a superb rider is the one company I enjoy the most, has a similar riding style and mindset.
Casual or Lycra, what type of clothing you prefer?
Your longest ride?
It was an enjoyable 600 km BRM done with Jatin in 2019.
Your favorite cycling quote?
Shut up Legs!
In one sentence, how cycling is saving the world?
The bicycle offers an economic, comfortable, easy, and sustainable way of human mobility – for the rich, and the poor.
One change you would like to see for cyclists in India?
I see many riders taking up cycling for weight loss but leave it either just after achieving their targets or much before that. I would like more people continue cycling as a way of life and make it a routine fitness activity.
Photo credits: Dr. Ankit Bhatia
Connect with Dr. Ankit on his instagram handle: @traveller.doc
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai