Read time – 2 minutes
Introducing Exodus Leader Suresh
How did you get into cycling?
Before, I was working as a guide but not cycling. I met Peter Black who was a leader and joined him on a cycling tour. I went cycling in my free time but it was very rare.
When I joined the cycling tour I couldn’t do a whole day cycling! Only half a day, maybe morning or evening. But step by step after two or three tours I could it. Now I do a lot of cycling even outside work.
You won Exodus’ Leader of the Year Award – Congratulations! What did you do with your winnings?
Very close to my village, there is another village where some poor people live, who work as farm labourers or cultivate tea. They have a small society hall used for many purposes – farmers meetings, if they need to buy fertiliser or sell tea to the factories, if the government offers vaccinations for pregnant mothers, a children’s nursery or education – so many things happen here, everything is in this place.
In our country when there is a funeral, we have a spare chair for the person who isn’t there, and many people come, maybe 100 people, and all the spare chairs and temporary huts are stored in this building and now there is not enough room.
It was built more than ten years ago, and the population is higher now so they need more space. So with the money we have built a new part of the building.
We made the land ready, laid the foundations and I helped for one day also. Now all the things stored here like seeds, temporary roofs, everything has now moved to the extension of the building, and now the people can safely use the building again.
We heard rumours that you organise what have become known as “Suresh Upgrades” to help people get to know the real Sri Lanka. What is your favourite way to surprise a group?
One thing I like to do is if they arrive on their birthday for the first day of the tour, I arrive with a cake at the airport!
What’s the best part of cycling in Sri Lanka?
People who come to Sri Lanka, especially on a cycling tour, who go to the non-tourist areas see the real beauty of the country.
If you just do the tourist areas you see only what is on the side of the road, and that’s it. But the cyclists, they see how it was 100, 200 years ago. They see the paddy cultivation and the real beauty of the country.
Suresh leads on Cycle the Backroads of Sri Lanka.
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