The extreme terrain and thin air of Kashmir & Ladakh makes even the fittest person feel weak. Low levels of oxygen, challenging weather conditions, undulating routes being just a few challenges out of the bunch as far as travelling there is concerned. While most dream of a relaxed life post retirement, there's these for whom age is just a number. While most tour operators and guides would not recommend a senior citizen to travel to the himalayas, citing the extremes, there's this bunch who did it in the most extreme way possible in the new normal age. The team from Pune, aptly name 'Young Seniors', successfully completed one of the challenging Cycle ride from Srinagar to Leh and then to Khardungla in the Himalayas riding 450 kms. The Team led by Sanjay Katti, himself a senior citizen was accompanied by 15 members which included 11 Senior Citizens (60+ age), the eldest being 75 years (Gautam Bhingania- who completed the expedition with quite ease), the team included 3 lady members too.
The Team left Srinagar on the 9th of August, rode through the exquisite Sonmarg had a night stay at Sonmarg, On the 10th August reached Drass after riding the treacherous Jojila pass (Ht. 11649 ft.) having heavy traffic and road condition not very suitable for cycle ride. On 11th August after visiting the Kargil War Memorial, reached Kargil and had a wonderful stay and food. 12th August left for Budhakhabro after passing through an equally challenging pass of Namikala(Ht.12198 ft.) a distance of 70 kms.
On 13th August from Budhakharbo to Lamayuru was also a challenging day, the ride was through the highest pass on Srinagar – Leh route Fatu La (Ht.13478 ft.) an hectic and tiring day. 14th August After visiting Lamayuru Monastery crossed through the beautiful Moonland area, this was the most scenic ride of the route and rode to Saspol where stay was in a Homestay of Norboos, an excellent and hospitable stay.
On the auspicious day of Indian Independence and starting the day with National Anthem started off to Leh, reached Leh after passing through and visiting Confluence of Zanskar and Indus, Magnetic Hill and Pathar Saheb Gurudwara. On the 16th August we reached the mighty Khardung la, highest motorable road in the world, and descended the 37 Kms of downhill ride to Leh.
It was truly a memorable ride of lifetime, the mother god blessed with a beautiful weather all through the journey. The scenic route, the wonderful and helpful locals was absolutely admirable.
The Team: Gautam Bhingania (75 years), Dr.Subhash Kokane (70 Years), Padmakar Agashe (68 Years), Avinash Medhekar(64 Years), Arvind Chitale (64 years), Dattatraya Gokhale (63 years), Sanjay Katti (63 Years), Shirish Lonkar (62 Years), Dr. Surekha Kokane (61 Years), Deodatta Tembhekar (61 Years), Vijay Hinge (60 Years), Ms.Smita Pandhari (55 Years), Anirudha Patwardhan (49 Years), Monish Chakraborty (49 Years), Ms.Gauri Patwardhan (48 Years), Sunil Dahiya (31 Years).