MANGALURU:An Indian Navy officer has set out on a solo bicycle ride, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari. He aims to foster harmony between civilians and the defence personnel.
Lieutenant Commander Manoj Gupta (30) from Mumbai, landed in Mangaluru on Sunday, as part of his ‘40 cities in 40 days’ trip for a cause. While he is trying to crowdfund proceeds for ex-servicemen and their dependents due to limited government support, Manoj says the ride is more than that. He left scouts regiment and training centre in Ladakh on June 6 and will reach Kanyakumari on July 16.
While attempting to motivate youth to join the forces, Manoj encountered tremendous motivation on the way. “When on my ride from Kurukshetra to Sonipat, cyclists from a village Samalka accompanied me to Delhi in large number,” he said. “I never expected such enthusiasm for cycling, especially because it was a village. But all were trained for physical fitness there by a 35-year-old physics teacher Satish,” he told The New Indian Express.
The villagers also made an online payment towards his cause, he added. He recalls the freezing ranges of Khardungla, with a thick blanket of snow, the simmering summer in Delhi and the rains here in the coast, making a cocktail of clouds and sun throughout the ride. “I had to halt for three days at Leh, to get acclimatised, before I could head to Khardungla. Throughout I was on schedule, except at Chandigarh, where I was under the weather for two days. But I’ve made up for my delay before reaching Mangaluru, with a 170 km ride (instead of the usual 100 km a day) from Navalgund to Gokarna,” Manoj told Express.He is trying to popularise the December 7 ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’ through the ride which will culminate in Kanyakumari on July 16.
Cycled 100 km per day on an average
Had first puncture at 2,500 km
Lodged at Kendriya Sainik Board
Got free technical assistance by Montra
Supported by the Naval forces who let him do the ride on duty
Spent C1,000 a day on food