- Banana Ride
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Cycling a length of 550 kms from Manali to the world’s highest motorable pass, Khardung La might sound like just another journey of hundreds of others doing the same. But what’s unique is the journey covered by an adventure enthusiastic that is visually impaired! In August 2016, Divyanshu Ganatra achieved this unbelievable task with a sighted captain in just eight days. He went on to become the first blind tandem cyclist to accomplish the feat.
For Divyanshu, it became the food to more such annual tandem cycling expeditions on the same route this year. Titled as ‘In Sync M2K2017’, The Manali to Khardung La expedition has drawn participation of blind as well as amputee cyclists from across India and beyond.
The participants are from diverse backgrounds like corporate giants, language teachers, from armed forces to motivational speakers. Age also seems like just a number as the age bracket ranges from around 15 to 70 year old! In terms of experience, few are getting on the bike for the first time ever while others are seasoned cyclists.
Divyanshu will team with another adventure enthusiast Christopher Louzado. “When Divyanshu and his captain were celebrating at Khardung La last year, I was rejoicing at the successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. On the heels of Kilimanjaro, with Divyanshu honoring me with a request to be his captain for this momentous expedition, I decided to try my hand at tandem cycling. What started as a way to support a cause and spark a new adventure has become so much more today,” Louzado said. Manali Leh Cycling Expedition
More than his own ride, Divyanshu is involved in logistics. “It’s a whole new thing. I am not thinking about my ride. The tougher part is getting together all the support staff, medicals and cycles. There are lots of things to consider and fortunately everything is set now,” he said.
The first batch will start from 29th July where even Divyanshu will be a part of it. A total of 11 cyclists including 6 tandem bikers will be part of the first batch. The second batch will have 20 participants. Divyanshu lost his eyesight to glaucoma when he was just 19 year old. In 2014 he became the first blind solo paraglider. His ever growing thirst for adventure laid foundation to Adventure Beyond Barrier Foundation (ABBF). The community since then is growing rapidly.
ABBF is a platform where it enables the person with disability to have an opportunity of adventure and promote inclusions with the able bodied community. The five main areas that ABBF works in are - tandem cycling, scuba diving, mountaineering and trekking, paragliding and marathons. Since the beginning it has been able to reach out to 3500 PwDs and over 1.5 lakh people from the mainstream community.
Source – Hindustan Times