Rajesh Magar is one of the top mountain bikers in Asia.
Originally from Solukhumbu district, Rajesh has been living in Kathmandu since his parents moved here for better opportunities as there weren’t any job opportunities in his village. Being brought up with difficult circumstances, Rajesh didn’t really have the luxury to own a bicycle but seeing his interest, an employer of his mother gave him a BMX bike. He didn’t know how to ride it but threw himself into practice.
Overwhelmed with his cycle, he used to get lost and forget about the time while he polished his skills. He used to teach himself how to ride looking at the YouTube videos of famous bikers. As he looked at the techniques and developed the skills, he looked up for the gears as well—the frames, the head, and different structures of a proper downhill bike.
After having more knowledge of the structures and how one could make it better with various spare parts, he got into modifying his bike with different additional parts he found, and as a result, Franken-bike was built with which he started racing. He rode his Franken bike in his first race, the 2013 Nepal National Championship, where he places sixth. He was seventeen.
“I love everything about mountain biking,” Magar says. “When I am on a bike, I forget about all of my life’s problems and issues. I appreciate nature, the trail, the bike.. mountain biking takes me to a place where I feel totally free.”
Rajesh is on the verge of rising with his exceptional talent, enthusiastic determination, and energy. His story has made him a National Geographic 2018 Adventurer of the Year.
“He’s not just a fast Nepali,” says Joey Schusler, a mountain biker, and filmmaker who nominated Magar for the honor. “He’s truly a professional.”
“I’ve never, in my whole life of mountain biking, heard of or seen a story like this.”
A version of this post was first published here.