Srinagar: Three years back, Mirza Mehdi, a sports enthusiast from Shalimar, and his friends went for a normal cycling expedition to Shankaracharya temple.
Amazed by the thrill, the trio decided to explore some other place to practice downhill cycling.
Months later, the trio formed the extreme mountain biking group ‘MTB Riders Rule’ to explore more such trails in the mountainous ranges of Kashmir.
“Since then, we didn’t stop. After exploring some trails, a quest developed in us to search for more trails. As interest kept generating, we upgraded our bicycles from normal ones to professional bikes,” Mehdi said.
The trio in the last three years discovered many trails in various mountain ranges of the valley.
“It is not like we know that any particular peak has a downhill trail for mountain biking. We capture every part of our journey to inspire our youth to take this sport professionally,” he said.
Not just Mehdi’s group, but a lot of mountain biking enthusiasts have formed their clubs in Kashmir to take this sport to the next level.
Famous in Europe, mountain biking emerges as a popular adventure sport, attracting both local enthusiasts and thrill-seeking tourists.
Experts said the rugged terrain and diverse topography of Kashmir provide the perfect backdrop for mountain biking, attracting adrenaline junkies from far and wide.
With its steep hills, lush valleys, and winding trails, this valley for nature lovers is now evolving into an exciting playground for cyclists.
The professionals claimed this particular sport has immense potential to develop Kashmir into the MTB paradise of Asia.
“This sport has good scope as alpine regions of Kashmir are naturally good trails. If this sport gets recognised by the government more youth will try their future in it. Further, promotion of this sport can attract athletes from Europe and other countries,” Mehdi said.
MTB Kashmir, a Kashmir-based adventure company, has been holding annual mega cycling expeditions apart from short trail sports events.
Mohammad Ameen, one of the organizers, said that more than 200 cyclists from across the world participated in the event to explore Kashmir.
“In October we are going to hold this annual event. Right now our cycling expedition from Srinagar to Leh is in progress in which eight riders including four male and four female cyclists are participating,” he said.
Ameen said that their cycling expeditions are getting a good response from enthusiasts across India. “We offer and manage cycling tours for visitors. This sport has a huge potential in Kashmir and we being the first such company, promote it through our regular events,” he said.