Cyclists on 3,800-km expedition from Arunachal to Gujarat

ITANAGAR, 29 Jan: Cyclists Meera Velankar and Tasneem Mohsin, both from Bangalore (Karnataka), are on a 3,800-km bicycle expedition from the east to the west of India, with the aim of creating awareness on cycling, environment and fitness.

The expedition began from Kibithu in Anjaw district on 27 January. The duo rode a limited distance of 75 kms, up to Hawai, on day one to acclimatize. They will bicycle all the way to Koteshwar in Gujarat, cutting across seven states, and are likely to cover a distance of 3,800 kms in a little over two weeks, averaging 200 kms per day.

“Our aim is to cycle almost 175-200 kms per day. The rains and high altitude bring their own unique levels of difficulty and make it extremely challenging with cold head winds,” said Mohsin.

“Middle-aged women are too tied up and scared to take up challenges. I hope we are able to encourage them to break their shell and experience the fun of outdoor activities. Even if they set out to walk, jog or cycle, it would be just great,” said Velankar.

When asked how tough it is, Velankar said, “Managing temperature variations in short span is tough. Cycling in mountains in freezing cold to high temperatures in Gujarat will be a challenge. We will have to throw away heavy winter clothing as we cycle into the plains.”

Mohsin added: “It is scary at times when for miles together we don’t see anything on the roads. We are so used to seeing people, vehicles and roadside stalls, but the hilly regions of Arunachal Pradesh are completely deserted.”

 Velankar (45) is a seasoned long distance endurance rider, and holds a PhD in life sciences. She is a mother of two daughters. Mohsin (42) is also an endurance rider. She is a mother of two children, and an architect-interior designer by profession.