It’s hard to imagine being able to do much at the age of 80. However, when every other 80-year-old is trying to just keep their health in a good condition, MP Jose, decided to cycle to Khardung La.
Situated 17,600 feet above the mean sea level, Khardung La is the highest motorable point where civilians are allowed. M P Jose turned 80 on September 11, 2021 and achieved an incredible milestone – he had cycled about 4000km from his native Athani in Kerala’s Thrissur district to Ladakh, where he celebrated his birthday.
On his birthday, Jose reached a spot in Ladakh, just 34 km from Khardung La, where he had to stop owing to heavy snowfall. As far as the latest report, bad weather has stopped him from further travel on Sunday as well. Depending on the weather, he will try to achieve the feat on Monday.
Not only was this journey a highly dangerous one for Jose considering his age, but he also had the added risks of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. But, Jose was determined to make this journey as it was an important feature on his “bucket-list” for life.
The man who started cycling when he was a boy of 11 or 12, has journeyed over quite long distances, on his cycle. This trip to Khardung La, however, is surely the longest cycling trip he has ever undertaken. Jose is a regular competitor in swimming and marathon competitions. He is also the winner of multiple accolades for the excellence he has shown in triathlon competitions.
Fortunately for him, he did not have to go through this arduous adventure on his own. He found a companion on the ‘Wheel of Life’(this cycle expedition), in the form of 48-year-old Gokul P R from Ayyanthole in Thrissur. Interestingly, it was only the love for cycling that brought the two men together. When Jose was trying to plan this cycle expedition to Khardung La, a lot of people expressed their concerns. However, that is when Gokul, an experienced cyclist, got in touch with and assured Jose that he would be there to support the latter. Dr. Lekha Lakshmi (Gokul’s wife), accompanied the pair, just in case Jose had any health issues crop up while covering the mammoth distance in such a challenging attempt.
The cycling duo had to overcome the numerous curbs that had been installed in the states, on the way, owing to the second wave of COVID-19. But, they never even thought of giving up. Having cycled in the Wayanad and the mountains of Ooty, they finally reached Chandigarh on the 13th of August, after crossing around 3,000 km. That is where they started their journey to Khardung La.
Former Kerala education minister Prof C Raveendranath flagged off the “Wheel of Life“, from Thrissur on July 15. It has also received a lot of support from all the cycle clubs of Kerala. Apart from that SAI, the Thrissur District Sports Council, the Thrissur District Olympic Association, the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangatan, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, are a few other organisations that have come up to make this almost unimaginable attempt, a reality.
Jose’s family are extremely happy and proud about what he has pulled off. However, they are evidently a bit tense about his safety, especially his health. Jose, the ’80-year-young’ plumber, who retired from the Thrissur Medical College, will always be an inspiration for people looking to push the boundaries of old age.