We are celebrating India’s 72nd year of Independence today. And to mark this historic occasion, a large group of cycling lovers gathered at Ankur Society, Prabhadevi for a flag hoisting ceremony. More than 200 cyclist arrived from all across the city. The atmosphere was overwhelming. Two senior citizens from the society hoisted the flag with grand salutes by all cyclist standing in a row. We sang the National Anthem paying our respects to our Nation & the Martyrs. After exchanging greetings amongst each other, the crowd moved towards Worli Seaface for a group ride.

Ajay Gound

In the middle of all this, i saw a man with a long beard standing at the corner. He was wearing a headscarf & had a lean body. I walked up to him & said –

‘Hi i am Vijay’

he replied back ‘Hello i am Ajay’.

‘Please to meet you Ajay. I have a brother whose name is Ajay’

‘Oh that’s wonderful Vijay. I too have a brother whose name is Vijay’

And we both laughed opening up a new chat window.


Meet Ajay Gound, a 27 year old man from Mira Road. He cycled all the way from his house to the venue which is about 40 kms. He comes from a humble middle class background & works in a dental lab. He has shown his presence in most cycling events of mumbai in last 4 years. But his bicycle love started at an early age of seven. ‘Cycling comes naturally to me & i like riding on most of the days’ he says. He has even travelled to Satara on a cycle. He went alone carrying a shoulder bag that weighed about 10 kgs. ‘How much does your cycle weigh? i asked’. Around 14 kgs roughly he said. So with 24 kgs of load he still managed the climbs, rough terrains & a distance of about 180 kms upto his village.

People like Ajay are an inspiration. They are Special ‘Not for what limited they have, but what EXTRA they do. If it’s a battle of mind over body, then MIND always wins’. For them, Hurdles are not hurdles but an occasion to rise. They confront challenges, tackle situations, attack their weaknesses & conquer the goals. They are Special because they battle alone, with no exceptional support. Empathy is a word to be avoided as their inner drive is powerful enough to launch them on a big stage. THEY ARE HERE TO COMPETE.        

To see Ajay riding with comfort & ease was a remarkable feeling. He is truly a ‘Specialized Cyclist’ with outstanding skills.

I would like to leave with a few questions:

Can you overcome your obstacles easily?

Do you need a push to achieve what you can?

What stops you to follow your passion?

If you feel you can contribute, than why hesitate?

I strongly believe there lives a ‘Specialized Cyclist’ in you. 

All it needs is ‘FREEDOM’. Set her free once again… Set him free once again… 

Happy Independence Day.




Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai


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