SRINAGAR: Trekker Mahmood A Shah flagged off Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K) solo cycling expedition of 67-year-old athlete Mohinder Singh Bharaj at historic Ghantaghar in Lal Chowk, Srinagar. Shah, a senior officer is a trekker who has been to almost all the high altitude Kashmir lakes.
The veteran cyclist from Nashik, Maharashtra is planning to complete the expedition, under the theme Race Against Age, in around 12 days by pedalling for around 16 to 18 hours daily.
The athlete began his ride at 7:10 am from the clock tower and is expected to reach Pathankot, Punjab in the first leg.
Bharaj has registered with World Ultra Cycling Association, the USA for the 65 to 70 years age group to set the record to complete the 3600 km stretch via Srinagar, Udhampur, Ludhiana Delhi, Gwalior, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kanyakumari. Currently, he works actively with an Engineering firm and specializes in Die and Mould making.
The time taken by him to reach Kanyakumari will be a new record in the 65 to 70 years age category by WUCA.
The current Guinness Book of World Record in Open Category is held by 23-year-old Kashmiri Athlete Adil Teli who completed the same distance in just eight days, one hour, 37 minutes.
The youngest cyclist to hold the record for the fastest K2K journey is Om Mahajan, from Nashik, who took 8 days and 7 hours when he was about to become 18 years old.
Speaking at the occasion, Mohinder Singh said he wants to send out a message that age is just a number and one should believe in staying fit and healthy without thinking of age.
“I named the expedition as Race Against Age. Mostly, people retire at 40 or 45 and stop outdoor activities. But there is no age bar for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As a senior citizen, I am still involved in physical exercises such as Cycling, Gymnasium, Strength training, and intermittent running,” Singh said.
Sukhdeep Singh (son), Kishor Kale (Cyclist and Cycle Maintenance expert), Prem, Dr Mustafa Topiwala (Physiotherapist), Venugopal (Cyclist) are other crew members who will accompany him during the expedition.
In the year 2017, he cycled continuous Pune to Goa, 643 km in less than 34 hours and became the only cyclist from India, above 60 years, to qualify for RAAM (Race Across America).
Earlier in 2014, Mohinder Singh Bharaj cycled 1000 km Cycling Brevet in just 64 hours from Delhi to the Wagah border and back to Delhi.
Recently in 2019, he along with one more cyclist rode in relay format visited Panch Takht (5 holy Gurudwara) from Nashik to Nanded to Patna to Punjab.
Speaking on the occasion, President JKMAC Mahmood A Shah said this is a historic movement that a veteran athlete is attempting to set the record.
Meanwhile, Riyaz Wani President JKMBA, Asif Bhat Secretary JKMBA, Syed Tahir of JKMAC, Mushtaq Ahmed Bhat Joint Secretary JKCA, were also present on the occasion.