Saleem Iqbal Qadri

This boy rode a cycle from Sopore to Leh—for showcasing talent of Kashmiri youth in Adventure Sports

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Sopore: Manan Hassan Wani, 22, a young cyclist from north Kashmir’s Sopore town created history as he became the first cyclist in his region to ride solo from Sopore to Leh and thereby covering a distance of 440 kms in 20 hours and 44 minutes.

Wani was selected by ‘Adventure Wheels Sopore’ for this expedition which provided him with all logistic support, while as his trip was co-sponsored by Kathi Junction Sopore.

Speaking to Kashmir Images, a visibly excited Wani says, “This hundred miles Solo cycle ride was my attempt to showcase the talent of Kashmiri youth in adventure sports. I started my Journey on 13 September at 9 am from Sopore under the banner of “Tour de Leh” and completed it in 20 hours and 44 minutes after reaching Leh on 15 September.”

Wani was accompanied by another boy, Faizan Ahmad, who rode his own bike to ensure all emergency support to him like medical aid, food and other important things.

While sharing the details of his adventurous journey with Kashmir Images Manan says it was a dream come true for him. “On the first day, I covered a distance of 104 kms in 4hrs and 20 minutes from Sopore to Sonamarg. It proved to be an excitement filled journey for me as many people who saw me on the way encouraged my efforts. After reaching Sonamarg, I took some rest there and drank water; besides, consuming some dry food including salty biscuits to maintain the required salt level in my body. I stayed in Sonamarg for one night where my accommodation was facilitated by my sponsors ‘Adventure Wheels’ and ‘Kathi Junction Sopore’.”

“On 14 September, I left from Sonamarg towards Kargil and covered a total distance of 121 kilometres in 6 hours and 15 minutes. It was very challenging for me to ride my cycle on Zojila Pass route as it was snowing there which had turned the road slippery but I managed to pass over it. Meanwhile, I happened to meet some of the youth from Sopore who praised my efforts,” he adds.

Wani says that he spend one night in Kargil before heading toward Leh. “On 15 September, I started my journey from Kargil to Lamayaru, 13050 feet from ‘The Moon Land of Ladakh’, and reached Lamayaru in 6 hours and 3 minutes by covering a distance of 120 kilometres. On Lamayaru Pass, I faced breathing problem, for which I used the oxygen mask which was provided to me by the sponsors, and also experienced nose bleeding but despite all the difficulties I continued my Journey.”

The last stage of Wani’s journey started in Lamayaru, where he stayed for one night, towards Leh which he completed in 4 hours and 6 minutes and thereby covering a distance of 120 kilometres. “I encountered the most difficult phase of this journey at ‘Magnetic Hill’ where my skin developed burn symptoms; besides, facing breathing problem. The tyres of my bike started to tremble because of the magnetic pull of the road but thanks to Almighty as I managed to reach Leh safely in a record-breaking time of 20 hours and 44 minutes,” Says Manan.

Manan started his cycle racing career in 2010 when he was studying in 9th standard at Muslim Educational Trust (MET), Sopore. He participated in a district level racing competition in collaboration with Amateur Cycle Association and bagged the second position in the racing competition.

Read also: Sopore cyclist who has won over 35 medals yearns for a “Professional Road Bike”

“It was the happiest moment for me to have won my first prize in cycle racing. Everyone, my parents, teachers and classmates congratulated me on my success,” Says a cheerful Wani who plans to ride solo from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

Adventure Wheels, Sopore Head, Sharjeel Abaas, told Kashmir Images, “Manan is a talented boy as he has won many medals not only in Jammu and Kashmir but outside of his state. Our organization along with Kathi Junction, Sopore had sponsored Manan Wani’s solo cycle trip from Sopore to Leh.”

“Our motive is to motivate other adventurous sports loving youth to represent their state at National as well as at International level. Manan does not have a ‘Professional Road Bike’ but he bought a second-hand cycle after her mother sold some ornaments and utensils,” Sharjeel added.

Manan is currently studying at Degree College Baramulla, and pursuing Bachelors in Computer Applications and there are two people in his family, Mother and one sister, while as his father is no more.

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