It was an honour and a privilege to be invited to cover the annual international women’s day celebration and cancer awareness ride by ‘The Cyclistas’ a cycling community in Mumbai.

The Cyclistas are a community of riders who believe in the power of cycling to change lives. Founded by three friends and professionals – Dr. Reshma Palep, Dr. Priya Vora Thakur and Meenal Yamsanwar.

From left to right: Meenal Yamsanwar, Dr. Priya Vora Thakur and Dr. Reshma Palep.

Today was a great Sunday morning which started with a wonderful event that included breakfast, tea, complimentary jerseys and a goodie bag.

The ride was flagged off by the Bicycle Mayor of Mumbai Dr. Vishwanathan Iyer with two loops of marine drive. Dr. Vishwanathan Iyer is the newly appointed Bicycle Mayor of Mumbai by BYCS – a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam with a global mission to accelerate cycling and a goal #50by30 – half of the world’s commute on a bicycle by the year 2030.

Dr. Vishwanathan said “Commute cycling is the simple answer to traffic woes, fitness issues and environmental concerns. I dream of the day when children in Mumbai go to school and colleges on cycle safely. The time has come to take this momentum forward! Apna time aayega – Cycle chala city bacha (Our time will come – ride a cycle and save the city).”

From left to right: Sydney Miranda, Dr. Vishwanathan Iyer and Sujatha Rangaraj.

The ride was followed by a Zumba session and a motivational talk by Dr. Mickey Mehta – a global leading holistic health guru, and corporate life coach from Mumbai. Dr. Mickey Mehta feels passionately about this cause because his mother was diagnosed with advanced Stomach Cancer almost 18 years ago. He spoke briefly on the topic and gave his fitness mantra to all the participants to stay fit, do yoga, maintain a healthy and nutritious diet, and build confidence to overcome cancer to those who are suffering from it.

Dr. Mickey Mehta delivering a talk.

Tips that may help to reduce chances of developing cancer:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Protect your skin from the Sun
  • Get vaccinated
  • Get screened regularly
Cyclists lined-up at the start point.

The event was co-organized by The Cyclistas and HCG Oncology on the 5th of March 2023. HCG Oncology is India’s largest provider of cancer care and at the forefront of the fight against cancer.

Typically, most critical mass events are held on Sundays considering traffic is low, participation is high, the streets are safer and it’s easier to seek permissions from the Traffic Police Department and the local Municipality office.

Such events are a great opportunity for the community to come together and raise awareness about the importance of cancer prevention and early detection. This year’s campaign theme is “Prevent Cancer, Save Lives”, #PedalforCancer

The jersey colour for this year is lavender and white while it was pink and white in the first season. The turnout was three times higher compared to last year with a group size of around 120 women and men – mostly women cyclists who took part in the event. The organisers said that ‘This inspiring turnout is a testament to the community’s dedication to promoting cancer prevention and early detection’. (You can read about last year’s event here)

Participants on stage.

As promised, the organizers returned with much better preparation with a popular venue ‘Marine Drive’ and even had a stage with music, photographers and videography.

Thanks to the organizers and all the participants for the entertainment, education about cancer awareness and the leadership for the cause of women empowerment. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this cause-led event.

The event concluded with an award ceremony for exceptional cyclists and financial aid donations given to needy cancer patients hosted by Dr. Palep’s Medical Education and Research Trust.

Guests giving momentous to the participants.

About the founders of The Cyclistas:

Dr. Reshma Palep is an eminent Breast Cancer Surgeon, trained at the best centres around the world. She has her own Breast Clinic dedicated to early detection. Since two decades, she has been treating women with Breast ailments, as well as conducting awareness camps and running cancer support programes. Apart from being a doctor, she is also an avid cyclist, trekker and travel blogger.

Dr. Priya Vora Thakur is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist practicing for the last 20 years in South Mumbai. She has conducted many camps to improve women’s health. She is also an enthusiastic cyclist, trekker and traveler who believes in living life to the fullest.

Meenal Yamsanwar is an adventure sports, mountaineering and cycling enthusiast. Meenal has already trekked to some of the world’s tallest peaks. She is an Electronics Engineer and with MBA in Finance and actively works in design strategy and interior styling with her husband. She actively works for social causes close to her heart.

To conclude, it was an inclusive and welcoming event for all participants, regardless of their cycling experience or fitness level. As they say, cycling is a fun and healthy way to celebrate Women’s Day and promote gender equality, so everyone had fun being a part of it.

Enjoy the photo album:

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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai


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