A little on the outskirts of Pune, and not too far away from Mumbai, lives a man and his family on a lush green farm surrounded by trees, organic vegetables, cattle and a whiff of hope every morning.
Their story reminds me of a saying by T.S. Elliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go”.
I imagine Varun sitting at the kitchen table as he humbly narrates his story to me over the phone. It almost felt like I was living the different paths of life he and his family chose to tread before finding this one. Once a cinematographer living in a city draped with tall cemented walls and a swift way of life, Varun was limited within the superficial space.
“I met my wife at a shoot in Pune”, and the story begins here six to seven years ago. This was when the decision to move to Pune was made. “As a child, I always wanted to do something with bikes in general.” However, the biking scene at the time was still in its infancy. It was only in the late twenties of Varun’s life when he started working as a freelance photographer and with a decent amount of free time went riding in the local hills of the city.
A community gradually started growing after discovering more riders, and the introduction to the sport became what was once a childhood dream, now a living reality.
In 2016, Varun made the biggest decision of his life after shifting from the city to his wife’s ancestral place on the outskirts of Pune. What was supposed to be a temporary shift turned out to be a lifelong decision. “I left my job as a cinematographer,” a statement you don’t often hear too much. The month-long shift was the call for Varun to embark on a new journey of life. “ It was a big internal shift for me, I had to let go of the career path and start envisioning a different type of life when we moved,” says Varun with an uplifting tone to his voice.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to make this life happen”. After a year living at the farm, Varun wanted to start contributing to the community. He got on two projects of building pump tracks in the city. The introspection into what he really wanted grew stronger and with it came another big step to build a dirt pump track at the farm. With little to no experience in the field, Varun only had one thing in mind - he had to do it. The four-month-long journey and the constant support from his wife and family birthed Spirit of Mogli. “Since then, we’ve built another one and it’s better and will keep getting better”.
The intention behind the pump track comes from his own personal experiences in life. A vision to build an inclusive community where kids, the youth and adults can come together and share their love for cycling, art, music and the environment. Hoping for a better and sustainable future, Varun seeks to eventually help the younger generation gravitate towards mountain biking as a sport.
After a new life was added to the family, Varun took more time with his wife and son until the end of 2020 when he decided to revamp the existing pump track. It only took a month now with the experience Varun gained in the past and it's bigger, and better. “I consider the project the real deal - planning, building and eventually running the business, making ends meet while having a bigger impact on the community”, says Varun.
Varun dreamt of a healthy way of life for both the body and the soul. As he puts it, “a beautiful green haven and in the middle of it lots of trees that provide clean air, food, and shelter to birds and animals that this urban sprawl is displacing”.
I finally ask Varun about the future prospects of mountain biking as he gives a perspective often overlooked in the sport. He says, “Each ride is a personal journey to overcome your blocks and face your deeper fears. Drops, rock gardens, switchbacks and berms are metaphors for the obstacles that can be turned into opportunities that one faces in life”. What’s needed are for like-minded people, organizations and riders to “organize so that our small and scattered efforts building up this scene do not get wasted”.
While the conversation ended, I realised Varun's journey and continued efforts is paving the way for a brighter biking future in its own small way.
"It can be a deeply rewarding sport depending on how you approach it" - Varun Dutt, Spirit of Mogli.
#mtbmagasia #spiritofmogli #pumptrack #bmx #mtb #pump #track #pune #india
The mountain biker’s best friend is back in the game and ready to lead the charge up and down technical trails. YT has unleashed the new JEFFSY models that also introduce the new product line-up that YT will be using moving forward. Starting with the JEFFSY, YT is replacing the old “Pro Race-Pro-Comp-Base” categorization with the new Core bikes. In addition to the Core models available year-round, YT will be releasing limited edition Uncaged models across all platforms tailored to unique riding styles and specs.
What does Core mean? In a step-by-step process, YT will be retiring the existing product categorization. YT’s portfolio will consist of two overarching categories, one of which is defined as Core. The first platform to redefine the new model structure is YT’s beloved all-mountain, JEFFSY. In time, YT Industries will be presenting Core models that feature the latest components for the existing platforms IZZO, JEFFSY, CAPRA, DECOY, and TUES. Core models will cover a broad range of builds and the model number indicates the level of spec – the higher, the more sophisticated. A key change with Core bikes will be that YT will carry out running updates on the specs as new components become available, rather than relying on annual updates.
The second category of bikes is the Uncaged models. These bikes will have more unique spec setups, be limited in volume, and will be released as they become available. YT already started releasing Uncaged models such as the Shred and Elite in 2020, and most recently the Blaze models in February. The Uncaged models are distinctive bikes that YT produces to satisfy the wishes of discerning riders who follow the latest trends in the industry. From high-end E-MTBs to enduro shred monsters, featuring the latest technology and dripping with best-in-class components, these bikes showcase what is possible at the forefront of the MTB evolution.
“We are focusing our efforts on putting the rider front and center of everything at YT. The overall goal of Core bikes is to make it easier for customers to understand our offering and be able to offer the latest and greatest to the YT Family throughout the year. We aim to achieve this via intuitive naming, consistent stock replenishment, and running spec changes. 2021 is a transition year as we roll out Core across all our platforms and continue to experiment with new Uncaged models, and we couldn’t be more excited to begin this new era.”
– Sam Nicols, CEO YT Industries
JEFFSY Core – Three build options to choose from
If you belong to the type of rider, that enjoys sending it down gnarly, techy trails AND collecting hundreds of meters of altitude a day, then JEFFSY will have you covered. YT’s new JEFFSY Core models offer three different builds. The JEFFSY Core 4 and JEFFSY Core 3 come with 29-inch wheels and carbon frames, while the JEFFSY Core 2 comes in either 29-inch or 27.5-inch wheel sizes paired with a highly durable aluminum frame. All models are available in frame sizes S to XXL with a fun-loving DNA and geometry, which can be adjusted thanks to the Flip Chip, which drops the bottom bracket by 8 mm and results in a 0.5°-slacker head and seat tube angle. The slack head angle, long reach and low front give riders a comfortably aggressive position on the bike during technical descents and plenty of control, while the steep seat tube angle allows for great climbing characteristics.
JEFFSY Core 4 – Maximal adjustability for uncompromised riding
The JEFFSY Core 4 boasts a FOX Factory Team Level package and seeks riders looking to pin it on every ride. This bike is equipped with a lighter high modulus carbon frame available in the colorways ‘Vlad Red’ and ‘Black Magic’. Thanks to the highly adjustable dream team of the FOX 36 Float Factory fork and FOX Float DPX2 Factory rear shock, riders can rely on 150mm travel front and rear. This flagship model delivers fantastic performance uphill and precise gear shifting thanks to the SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain with an extended 520% range. SRAM G2 RSC brakes with Centerline rotors (200mm/200mm) deliver maximum braking power and perfect modulation.
JEFFSY Core 3 – Performance is key
The JEFFSY Core 3 offers all the upsides of a high-performance carbon frame combined with carefully selected components, that will reliably deliver the goods ride after ride. Available in colors ‘Assault Green’ and ‘Black Magic’, this all-mountain includes 150mm of travel front and rear courtesy of the FOX 36 Float Performance Elite fork and the FOX Float DPX2 Factory Performance Elite rear shock. The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain with improved 520% range ensures you get into the right gear at the right time. Braking power is delivered by SRAM G2 R brakes and Centerline rotors (200mm/200mm).
JEFFSY Core 2 – Just get out there and go
The JEFFSY Core 2 focuses on the necessary ingredients for plenty of GOOD TIMES on any trail. The cold-forged, hydroformed, and double-butted aluminum frame offers extreme durability for riders looking to push the limits or newcomers to this “game of bike”. A FOX suspension set-up comprising of the FOX 36 Float Performance fork and FOX Float DPX2 Performance offers either 150 mm travel front and rear with a 29-inch wheel or 160mm with a 27.5-inch wheel. The reliable SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain will get the job done and allows riders to shift gears smoothly and climb efficiently.
#mtbmagasia #ytindustries #jeffsy #core #mtb #enduro #downhill