By Anissa Lamare
He was packed with a brand new BSA Champ bike and was cruising around with an attitude you couldn’t mess with. This was the new kid around the block in the streets of Shillong back in 2014. Today, he rides a 29’ with the same zeal the first time we saw him. We lovingly call this lad “Bhoi”.
Meet Apshai Niangti and his story with bikes. Standing at 5’7 or 5’8 depending on the shoes he wears as he puts it, Bhoi has always been passionate about biking since his blue BSA bike.
“My mom is my role model”, Apshai begins as we talk about his personal journey with mountain biking. Born and brought up in a motorsport enthusiast family, it wasn’t long until Bhoi found his own throttle. It was on his first BMX downhill race that confirmed he was going to stick with the sport and up to this day, he remains positive about mountain biking life.
Mountain biking at the time the race happened in 2013 was like a pot of luck because nobody knew what it was. “I stumbled upon a mountain biking video”, and after the race “everything else went downhill”.
Years went by and the racing life every winter began, some wins, some wine and a lot of friends. Bhoi always had a competitive spirit but also goofed around a lot with his bike on the trail. “As for me I’m slightly competitive and I like to have fun and style it down the racecourse,” says Apshai with a country-boy like tone to his voice.
“The fear is overwhelming” but Bhoi has reached a realisation that as time passes, the adrenaline is worth risking for in life
If you saw Apshai on the road, you probably would not guess that he races like a mean bull. But the specimen makes sure he gets his laps in before every racing season.
“ Mountain Biking has opened my mind, changed my perspective towards a lot of things” adding on by saying “it’s a language of its own”. The world went silent for a moment after he said that. Mountain biking sure does have a culture of its own and speaks different but has the same spirit everywhere.
Apshai like every other has a big dream, a dream to race around the world, a dream to start a bike park, marking the birth of mountain biking on home soil and a dream to keep racing as long as he can lead others in the sport. For a twenty-two-year-old “grease monkey” that’s going to be one hell of a ride.
But we all know Bhoi too well, and if he says he’ll ride bikes, that’s exactly what he’ll do.
Naphthali Jordan Langstieh
Asif Aminur Rashid
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