Visually Impaired Ajay Lalwani Is Cycling 7,500 Kms Across India To Make People Aware Of Road Safety

Image Credits: The Indian Express

The Logical Indian Crew

Visually Impaired Ajay Lalwani Is Cycling 7,500 Kms Across India To Make People Aware Of Road Safety

The 25-year-old began his journey from Gateway of India, Mumbai on November 15, 2021 and is now set to travel twice across the length of India-to Srinagar, Kanyakumari and back to Mumbai, cycling through 12 states over a period of 45 days.

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Ajay Lalwani, a visually impaired cyclist, is currently on a 7,500 km-journey across India to raise awareness about road safety and the need for adequate lighting on the country's roads.

For him, life is all about making new records every day. He wants to be better day by day and do all kinds of things that people believe are not possible for him.

The 25-year-old began his journey from Gateway of India, Mumbai on November 15, 2021 and is now set to travel twice across the length of India-to Srinagar, Kanyakumari and back to Mumbai, cycling through 12 states over a period of 45 days. Signify (Previously known as Philips Lighting), which is the global leader in lighting, is supporting his mission by sponsoring the ride.

Making Records After Records

Lalwani has previously made two world records in blind cycling from Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai and Dadar–Gondia–Dadar. Now he has undertaken the Blind Cycling Expedition 2021, The Indian Express reported. He has also won many medals at national level para-sports tournaments in Judo and Kabaddi.

"Every year, it is about undertaking a new challenge. When I got to know about the expedition, I did not want to lose on such a good opportunity especially because the idea to create awareness about road safety coming from a visually-impaired person is a powerful message," the cyclist told the publication. He is accompanied by a self-sustaining 18-member team (in cars) which includes navigation coordinators, photographer, cook etc.

Born in Thane's Ulhas Nagar, the cyclist believes that visually-impaired have every right to live, dream and realise their potential. But it is unfortunate that people with disabilities (PwD) lack public support mostly. Lalwani recalls being rejected by many sponsors for this expedition but he kept on pursuing to re-emphasise the idea that one can attempt and accomplish anything that is set on a person's mind.

Making People Aware Of Road Safety

Lalwani had slowly started to lose his vision when he was a child and is now '100% blind'. Ahead of his journey, he had expressed how road accidents are responsible for so many deaths every year, yet there are no lessons learnt. "Ever since we have started this journey, there have been every day problems that have binded us in this initiative, from potholes to lack of street lights, making it even more challenging and tricky for us. But this is what I want to highlight and make people aware of. I want roads that even people like me can access it easily and comfortably. Road safety is a must that everyone should follow," he told The Indian Express.

Notably, his team consists mini teams which take four-hour turns to guide him with navigation including specific directions, the pace of his cycle, and continuous keeping up with him to prevent any mishaps. "The members are seated in the trunk of the car with a walkie-talkie. Another one is attached to my ear and plugged close to my shoulder through which I am given instructions like whether to go right, or stop, or ring the bell," he said.

Every day, Lalwani and his team are on the streets for 15 hours with three-four breaks for breakfast, lunch, and tea. His protein-based breakfast consists of eggs, paneer, sprouts at 9-9.30 am; lunch with rice, vegetables, and fruits or fruit juices, if he is hungry in between meal times. "I take 6-8 litres of water every day from a camel pouch, which helps me sustain throughout the day," he said. The cyclist stops riding by 7 pm, and by 8 pm, they finish dinner and call it a day by 9 pm, sleeping either in tents or accommodation arranged by the sponsors.

Lalwani, who has five siblings, was always "interested in sports" since childhod. "From trekking to swimming, I was interested in playing almost every type of sport. As we all know, it is good for fitness, be it physical or mental," said the cyclist who works with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (Mumbai Mahanagar Palika).

"My biggest dream is to be the first visually-impaired person to climb Mount Everest. All these are helping me prepare better," he said, who does gymming, yoga, mallakhamb, swimming besides cycling to keep himself fit and agile.

Also Read: IAF Chopper Crash: Kerala Officer Pradeep Arakkal's Ailing Father Not Informed About His Son's Demise


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Writer : Tashafi Nazir
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Editor : Palak Agrawal
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Creatives : Tashafi Nazir

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