Biking expeditions are not uncommon but it is if a 68-year-old takes up one, that too aimed at creating a world record for the longest ride within the country. Retired Colonel M.A. Kaleem, motorcyclist from Hyderabad, took a pit stop in Bangalore recently.
Col. Kaleem, who has been biking across the country for 47 years, is the only Indian to have completed solo rides, 12 times, from Hyderabad to Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world, he said proudly, during a quick chat. The 35,000-km journey, which started in Hyderabad on January 3, comprises visits to major cities in the country, including New Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana and Guwahati.
The biker spoke passionately not just about riding, but also about safety measures. . “Young boys today spend lakhs of rupees to buy a motorcycle but don’t spend a thousand rupee to buy a helmet. When you neglect the basic needs while riding, sooner or later, you will find yourself a victim of your own negligence,” Col. Kaleem said.
Besides riding, Col. Kaleem is interested in conservation of environment. “I plant a tree when I start my ride. Whenever I stop at a place for the night, I request the host to help me plant a tree,” he proudly said, adding that he had planted 12 trees since the day he started the motorcycle expedition on January 3.
He said he is writing a book on the impact tourism has on the environment.
Col. Kaleem, while sharing his experiences, said he being a father of four, the prospect of going back home is as exciting as riding through the country.