Excerpts from the interview with Belinda Mueller

Here is what Belinda Mueller, from Goa, had to say when Vidula asked her

Any tips for women to stay safe?

Anything can happen. Something could happen in your own home, in your own backyard. I was always afraid. The 400 that I did, I left Karwar at 9pm and reached Panjim at 3am and the whole stretch from Karwar at 9pm to Panjim at 3am, I cycled alone, along the highway, the Karmel ghat. I was quite afraid of it earlier and this trip helped me overcome my fears. Initially I thought I would wait for the others, the guys, who were behind me, so I thought no, let me see how far I can go and I can always stop somewhere and meet them there. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the sense of freedom. It was a full moon night and I reached Panjim.

Goa is a little better, safer, than any other states. We are fortunate here in goa. Sometimes I take off for my practice rides and I leave my house at 3am in the morning. Early mornings it is a lot safer than night. You are a lot safer. It is the night – 1130, 12, 1, 2 – that is a problem. One of my favorite rides is to the Netravali, the national park! I never realized that there were so many Gaur. And these Gaurs are right next to the highways, road sides. My husband, he was cycling in pitch darkness and so he reached the place at around 545 and he was cycling and suddenly he saw this massive Gaur right on the road side. He crossed it and he turned, and it had it had moved on to the road. That was a little scary. Next time I stopped and I spoke to the forest guards, and they said that here there is no problem. The Gaur had never attacked anyone. And I see the kids also going to school. Nobody has ever been attacked. The fears all disappeared. But then we have stray dogs! They can be quite dangerous. Especially for the cyclists!

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