In a first, 2 Tangmarg youths pedal Gulmarg to Pangong Tso on traditional bicycles
Srinagar: Two youths from north Kashmir’s Mahion Tangmarg completed a record cycling expedition from Gulmarg to Pangong Lake on traditional bicycles.
Suhail Rehman Lone and Fayaz Ahmad Lone completed this historic expedition on Hero Jet Gold traditional bicycles in eight days and covered 676 km. They cycled for 14-hours for eight consecutive days.
“We cycled around 75-80 km per day passing through toughest terrains and high altitude motorable passes that include Zoji la, Namikala, Fotu la, the toughest off-road pass Chang la (world’s second-highest motorable pass – 1768 ft above sea level) after Khardung la,” said Suhail.
During the course of our expedition, we faced immense hardships; withering under 38-degree temperature during the day and braving 8-9 degrees during the night. We would also go without food for many hours because of lack of cafes, markets,” he said.
“The people who we met on the way were friendly and cordial. During the course of our expedition, we experienced the cultural practices and traditional values of the locals,” said Fayaz.
“We also met many YouTubers and social media influencers who praised our efforts and termed our expedition exciting and praise-worthy,” he said.
“The idea to go on this expedition was spontaneous as we had never cycled for long distances before. The local professional cyclists we talked to were of the opinion that it would be suicide to attempt the cycling expedition on a non-professional traditional bicycle. However, being professional adventure sportsperson, we knew the survival tricks which motivated us to go for the expedition,” said Fayaz, adding, “we were carrying tents, repair kits, survival kits, drinking water, camelpacks, rucksacks that weighed around 40 kg for both of us.”
Suhail said that the most difficult part of their expedition was to cool down the tires of their bicycles as after heating up, the rim brakes would not apply.
“The sole motto behind attempting the cycling expedition was to check our self-resistance by relying on a tight budget and simple equipment. Otherwise, we didn’t want to become popular or gain fame by attempting the arduous expedition,” he said.
Suhail said that the traditional bicycle connects him to the struggles of his elders especially his grandfather who he remembers riding the bicycle for traveling long distances and carrying heavy things on it.
“Our cycling expedition to Pangong Tso had an emotional factor too – we wanted to reminisce about the good old days, when the traditional bicycles, which have been replaced by today’s modern and sophisticated bicycles, would meet the transport needs of middle-class families,” Suhail added.