10-year-old Nagpur resident Fatima Shafiq recently became the youngest cyclist in an expedition by Youth Hostels Association of India. As part of the expedition, she cycled the entire stretch from Goa to Mumbai, spanning 573 km, along with her 14-year-old sister Batul and parents Hasan and Sarah.
The Shafiq family rode for nine days through the western ghats — Goa, Konkan, Malvan, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad district — in nine days. The expedition was flagged off in Panaji on December 23, and it reached Nagaon village in Alibag tehsil of Raigad district on December 30.
“It was only six months back that we got inspired to be fit and would go cycling every Sunday,” Hasan said. “During the expedition, we would start at 7 am in order to reach the day’s destination before sunset. We would ride for almost 12 hours and cover an average of 65 km each day.”
The western ghats terrain had steep slopes, and high temperatures and humidity during the day added to the challenge. “But the tough terrain was countered by the breathtaking coastline of the ghats,” he added.
The oldest participant in the expedition was 56-year-old Mumbai resident Balasao Choughule. Twenty-nine people participated in it.