The fourth season of Rotary Cycling Rally for Diabetes Awareness was held on a cold winter morning of 5th January 2020. This cycling event was organized by Rotary Club of Mumbai South of District 3141 which was founded on March 19, 1929. Rotary Club of Mumbai is affiliated to its parent body Rotary International. There are 25500 Rotary Clubs operating globally in 184 countries, and each club functions under a standard Rotary Club constitutional framework.

The organization and its members are committed to community services and welfare of society. Rotary Club members are experts in their own professions and run focused programs in the fields of Education, Environment, Health, Women Empowerment, Nutrition, Animal Welfare, Legal Aid, Vocational Training and many others areas. The club actively organizes and participates in sports events like running, cricket, golf, table tennis and cycling. Rotary Club uses sports as an effective tool for spreading awareness and to address health related issues such as diabetes.

Six year old Jehan Irani was the youngest participant and successfully finished the 13.8 km cycle ride.

This year, Rotary Cycling Rally for diabetes received nearly 2011 online registrations and 1215 cyclists came for the cycle ride, meaning 60% turn-out. Participants came from different parts of Maharashtra – Mumbai and its Suburbs, Pune, Raigad, Nashik and Alibaug. The route and cycle distance is fixed every year, the rally starts at 07:00 am from Kala Ghoda in Fort and ends with breakfast at Suryavanshi Kshatriya Hall at Dadar, covering a total road distance of 13.8 kms.

The most exciting part of this cycle event is the lucky draw prizes. Like every year, the tradition of distributing spot prizes continued with one brand new cycle ‘Firefox Volante, 27 gear hybrid bike’ as a Mega Prize. Other spot prizes were – a cycle helmet, cycle lock, cycle lights, horn, UV glasses, sipper bottle and a weather proof cycle bag pack. Ms. Shubhangi Sarvade from Pune won the Firefox Volante.

Mega prize winner Shubhangi Sarvade with Dr. Keiki in black blazer.

In my view, the organizers should give a gift voucher of a cycle brand instead of an adult bicycle. It will give winners the flexibility to select a bicycle of their choice within the prize budget, particularly children and women. In this case, the girl had to settle with a full size men’s bike.

Lucky draw winners.

While briefing the Press, Padmashree Awardee Prof. Dr. Keiki R. Mehta, Surgical Chief and Medical Director of Mehta International Eye Institute said “Diabetes is a dangerous disease, it’s a sweet ailment but its effects are sour, and once you cross forty it surprizes you. The prevalence of diabetes in India is very high and unfortunately Mumbai is a diabetes capital of India, and due to its fast paced stressful life people tend to skip their exercise routines. Sitting on a couch and watching TV, playing video games, excess use of mobile phones and computers is leading to health risks. Nevertheless, diabetes can be managed through a controlled lifestyle, balanced diet and physical activities like walking and cycling. Through this cycling rally organised by Rotary Club, we want to create maximum awareness and encourage everyone to walk more, cycle more and stay healthy”.

Early morning visuals of press briefing.

There are two main types of Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes – lack of insulin and Type 2 diabetes – ineffective use of insulin in the body. According to World Health Organization about 422 million people have diabetes, particularly in low and middle income countries and it is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world.

My father who was a Dentist, Dr. Ramesh B. Malhotra too suffered from diabetes with prolonged illness. He underwent hospitalizations on and off for over 3 years. I was quite young to understand anything about diabetes that time. However, in the later years I also came across patients who were Juvenile diabetics.

At the event, I met Mr. Narinderjeet Singh Manchanda, a Type 1 diabetic which got detected when he was 15 years old. Narinderjeet realized his diabetic condition will remain forever and he enjoyed a large part of his life maintaining a liberal lifestyle with no real physical activity. As he crossed the age of forty, health complications started to occur and his family doctor advised him to make modifications in his lifestyle because his care free attitude was causing problems.

Narinderjeet Singh Manchanda.

Narinderjeet worked hard and turned the situation around. He is now 50 years old and maintains a disciplined diet with 45 minutes of daily exercise and feels healthy. His fitness activities include a combination of walking, yoga and cycling. “Five years of regular cycling has given me a lot of confidence and mental strength” says Narinderjeet. His longest cycle ride was 110 kms with a cycling group and on an average he cycles for about 50 kms every week.

Senior Dietitian, Ms. Geeta Malhotra, suggests “Expert advice helps in developing correct eating habits and bringing about self-discipline. One needs to be aware of the do’s and don’t’s, understanding your medication or insulin therapy, and how adhering to a personalized diet plan under the supervision of a qualified registered dietitian empowers you with long term self-management. One should also discuss with their health care professionals about the kind of physical activity they perform, so that all other related necessary actions are under control.”

Jehan enjoying a fun ride with a senior cyclist.
Adventure Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF) is a blind association in Mumbai. Seen here is Sydney Miranda Piloting a partially blind member from ABBF.
Pilot Narayan with ABBF member.
Pilot Puru Khilari on a tandem cycle with ABBF member.
A group of cycling enthusiasts.
Raju Turkane, specially abled cyclist.
Dr. Keiki’s Mehta International Eye Institute team who made the event a success.
Traffic Marshals.
Dr. Keiki Mehta with the Chief Guest of the Roraty Cycling Rally for Diabetes, Rotary District Governor Harjit Singh Talwar and Rtn. Nargis Gaur and Rtn. Sonu Choudary President: Rotary Club of Mumbai South.
Dr. Keiki Mehta with his main man, Luciano Gomes (Right)
Shailesh Vardhan and Farookh Sidi on his Tricycle imported from Japan. Shailesh owns 3 cycles – one hybrid, one tandem and a trike.
Young participants before the start of rally.
Dignitaries from Rotary Club.
Cyclists from various clubs.
Having fun on a Tricycle.



Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai


  1. It was a very well organised event. Organizers deserve a big round of applause. On Sunday I cycled from 4 am to 4am Monday covering a distance of 210 kilometres. I had adequate periods of rest inbetween.

    1. it is indeed wonderful to receive inputs & compliments from our cyclists. And you Mr. Sharma deserve a bigger round of applause. Its because of devoted cyclists like yourself, riders who come from far away places to make this a memorable event, that we look forward to organizing such events year after year. The 5th January 2020 Rotary Cycling Rally for Diabetes was really Big. We’ve grown in numbers over the 4 rallies, and we look forward to yet a bigger number the next time. Thanks again.

I will appreciate your comments