Congratulations to the Tandem team of Meera Velankar and Utkarsh Verma who set the new Unsupported WUCA world record for the point-to-point route from Agra – Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Umling La. This is in the Mixed Tandem, 18-49 age-group.
This ride is accomplished on a very entry level bike without any modifications. Bike is priced at 52,000 rupees that is approx. 650 US dollars. Bike frame has a weight of around 22 kgs and it was 10 kgs of bike bags and other accessories fitted on to the bike making it 33 kgs. Riders have age gap of 20 years and are from different socioeconomic class. This team came together to achieve one dream of creating a WUCA /Guinness record for mix tandem bike for highest motorable -pass in the world Umlingla.
Dr Meera Velankar who is seasoned endurance athlete for past decade is also Ph.D in life sciences and Utkarsh Verma is a graduate from an
open university and is cycling for past 5 years.
Route Agra-Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Umlingla
Ride distance: 1835 kms and 19 days , 7 hrs and 18 minutes
Passes crossed: Zojila -11649 ft , Namikla- 12,198 ft , Fotula -13479 ft , Norbula -16991 ft and Umlingla 19007 ft , all of them are very high altitude to extreme altitude category.
Percentage of ride at high altitude: 60 percent after first pass.
Challenges : Riders from different locations in India, Socioeconomic class is different , Gender and age differences making it very difficult to communicate . Social challenges of riding tandem in India where people are not open about two riders coming together for a ride and constantly asking you about your relationship with each other.
Other financial challenges since Utkarsh is from a very modest background , majority of expenses to one rider and other ride related logistics driven by only one partner putting tremendous pressure on Meera.
Indian Army, ITBPF and BRO helped us in case of SOS situations to find nearest food place or direct us to nearest stay place. Guide us on route condition and temp various in that region, specially last 300 kms ahead of Leh. Cycle was sponsored by Spokeherd, Bikepcking bags sponsored to Meera from The Posst bikes. other logistical support from Polygonbikes India.