Happy Children’s Day! Today is a special moment for all of us we celebrated Children’s Day with our dear friends and fellow cyclists. We went for a group ride with visually impaired cyclists from the ABBF foundation and Divyang Sports and Cultural foundation. Both are registered government organizations and are working for the welfare and upliftment of the visually impaired children and adults in the society.
It was a huge turnout with over 40 cyclists gracing the event with full excitement. Cyclists from different parts of the city assembled at common meeting locations on the route and rode to Flora Fountain in Fort area Mumbai. Chirstopher Pereira, Co-founder of West Coast Cycling club introduced the visually impaired cyclists to all the club members and spoke about our fundraising campaign through which we were able to collect $500 or 40000 INR to buy Tandem Bicycles. He also elaborated about the long rides which the ABBF and Divyang foundations pursue 3 to 4 times a year.
For the first time, I met Mr. Dileep a 70 year old cyclists who appears to be much younger than his age. The mantra for his youthful appearance and fitness involves regular routines which mostly includes long walks and cycle rides. “I use to cycle to work between 1992-1996 when I worked for Air India. Now, I cycle regularly 3-4 days a week and even do climbs on my road bike. My son works for an airline and he is preparing for an Iron-man competition – therefore we end up cycling together on certain days” he explained.
I was also glad to meet Mr. Murugan Shobana after nearly 2 years since the pandemic came into our life’s. Murugan has cycled for more than 50,000 Kms in 4 years. He has traveled across India with his Brompton folding cycle and even cycles to work almost daily. Aside, he participates in community events and contributes for the social causes. He is highly enthusiastic person and captures his daily adventures in a travelogue called “Brompton Murugan” on his YouTube channel.
Another observation I made today is about growing number of women cyclists in Mumbai city. Women are actively riding these days and associated with numerous clubs which organize local recreational rides. West Coast Riders club for instance has around 30 women riders in the club and most of whom are active cyclists. May the tribe grow further.
The Children’s Day ride included cycling with distribution of chocolates, photographs and scrumptious breakfast at Mani’s Cafe.
Once again, we had an opportunity to go back to our childhood – make a difference by spending quality time with the visually impaired – and once again a bicycle played a role in our happiness, well-being and community progress.
I would like to conclude this blog with a quote “Every child is a different kind of flower, and together, makes this world a beautiful garden”.
Happy Children’s Day!
Photo credits: Christopher Pereira
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai