The route will cover eminent landmarks, including the Parliament House, Rajpath, India Gate, Delhi Golf…
He may have lost his right leg in a bike accident in Hyderabad back in 2006, but with every push of the peddle, paracyclist Aditya Mehta gets one step closer to greatness. By arriving in Mumbai on Sunday after a six-day cycling journey from New Delhi, Mehta added another feather in his already colourful cap.
Having reached the metropolis in the morning, Mehta, though elated with his latest feat, said this journey was one of the most difficult. “It (the journey) was different as I cycled without my prosthetic leg. To make it worse, it was hot in Rajasthan as I made my way through Jaipur, Bijwada, Udaipur, Baroda, Navsari and the final halt in Dahisar before hitting town,” said an exhausted Mehta.
“All that I had this time was my left leg. Push and pull, push and pull was all I kept reminding myself. I have been sitting since I finished the journey,” said the Hyderabad resident, who started his journey from India Gate in the Capital on December 14 and finished at the Gateway of India.
Mehta always had a passion for cycling. Despite helping his dad in the family’s textile business, he always found time to pursue his hobby. But it was only after his accident that he decided to take his passion to the next level.
“I come from a business family. I know that there are so many other para-athletes who are unable to sustain themselves but still want to play some sport. Over a period of time, I realised that it is very hard for the para-athletes to sustain themselves,” he said.
In order to help those like him, Mehta founded the Aditya Mehta Foundation (AMF) in December 2013. The organization takes care of all the needs of para-athletes and helps them with equipment, healthcare and other necessities.
But all of this needed finance. Thus Mehta decided to raise money by himself, by doing what he does best —cycling. And in doing so, he has achieved what many people find hard to fathom. For starters, in 2013 he became the first paracyclist to ride from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, covering 36 Indian cities. Then, turning professional, Mehta bagged double silver medals (10km and 40km) at the Asian Para-Cycling Championships held in 2013.
As far as the future is concerned, Mehta has set his sights on the Manali-Khadunga stretch in August next year. “I’ve done it two years back. There’s nothing between now and August so I need to keep myself in top shape,” he said.
Apart from all his struggles, the one thing he always enjoys while cycling is when people look at him in awe. “Passer-bys in cars and carts can’t believe someone with one leg is cycling at almost the same pace. They’ll stop by for selfies and congratulate me. But nothing comes close to my biggest fan,” said Mehta, before letting out his secret. “It’s my six-year-old daughter Devna. She goes to school and asks all her friends if their fathers’ have ever appeared in a newspaper. For her it’s always been ‘Adi is a robot’,” said Mehta with a chukle.