Josettan, as his friends affectionately call him, is from Athani in Thrissur. He told TOI by phone from Leh that he had cycled to a place just 34 km from Khardung La, which is 17,600 feet above sea level and is the highest point allowed for civilians. He was unable to continue from there on Saturday due to an unexpected snowfall.
On this cycling expedition, dubbed the ‘Wheel of Life’, José is accompanied by Gokul PR from Ayyanthole in Thrissur, who, incidentally, had made a bicycle trip from Thrissur to Khardung La in 2013 via Manali. Gokul’s wife, Dr. Lekha Lakshmi, and their 14-year-old daughter joined them from Ladakh after arriving there by plane.
José, who withdrew from the Thrissur Medical College Hospital As a plumber, he said he has had no major health problems during his bike trip. “I encountered an oxygen problem when I arrived in Leh about nine days ago, but my fellow cyclists supported me by providing me with an artificial supply of oxygen,” he said. “Oxygen shortage is a problem commonly encountered by everyone, including military personnel, upon arrival in Leh,” said Dr. Lakshmi.
José said he started cycling when he was in class V. “Cycling is my passion, and I used to pedal long distances in the past. But this is obviously the longest bike trip I’ve ever made, ”he said. He is also a regular participant in swimming and marathon competitions. José has also earned accolades for excelling in triathlon competitions. Wheel of Life, which was interrupted by the former Kerala Education Minister Professor C Raveendranath from Thrissur on July 15th is being supported by all Kerala cycling clubs as well SAI, Thrissur District Sports Council, Thrissur District Olympic Association, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangatan and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
José’s wife and three children are delighted with his achievement, but also a little concerned for his safety. Gokul’s cousin Ajayan is a brigadier in the Indian army, and through it they obtained broad support from the military to traverse high security areas and difficult terrain.