TfN: These cycling enthusiasts pedal for a cause

A team of cycling enthusiasts, which is part of the 11th edition of Tour of Nilgiris (TfN), has set out on a mission to pedal for 950 km to raise funds to support children suffering from eye cancer.

Out of 110 participants of the 11th edition of Tour of Nilgiris (TfN), the annual event of the RideACycle Foundation, eight are cycling to raise funds for the said cause. City Police Commissioner Dr A S Rao flagged off the eight-day tour near Hotel Rio Meridian, on Sunday.

Thanmaya Bekkalale and Manoj Bhale of Iksha Foundation, who are participating in the TfN will be creating awareness on Retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer among the children, and raise funds to support them.

The 42-year-old Bekkalale is an entrepreneur and has been associated with TfN for the past five years as a rider and volunteer. Bhale, 48, an employee of a private company, is participating in TfN for the third consecutive year.

Iksha Foundation was formed in the year 2010 to extend help for the children, who are suffering from eye cancer. Initially, the foundation used to raise funds through various sports activities. Bekkalale says, there is a lack of awareness about the eye cancer among the general public, and thus in most of the cases the children are left untreated.

Until now, the foundation has helped 170 children across the country. According to Bekkalale, the treatment costs around Rs 1.70 lakh for each child. The foundation has tied up with eye hospitals in parts of the country. The idea is to raise Rs 9.5 lakh to offer support for six to seven children, said Bekkalale. The riders have already raised a few lakhs.

Similarly, Murthy Narasimha is riding for Sita Bhateja Specialty Hospital, Anand Kapoor for Kalap Trust, Suraj Subramanyam and Hari Ramachandran for Kenneth Anderson Nature Society, Parag Chheda for Vidyodaya, Lena Mareike Josefine Robra for AIFO India and Gangadhar Prasad Balija for Aditya Mehta Foundation.

18 women, 29 foreigners

As many as 18 women, and 29 foreigners are part of the tour. Deepa Katrodia from Maharashtra is into cycling for last two years. For the first time, she is a part of the TfN and was all happy to be a part of the tour that tests the stamina and the endurance of the participants. “This is a different experience for me and it’s an opportunity to enjoy nature,” she says.

Challenge

Nils Eigil Bradtberg from Denmark, who is participating for the sixth time, says, traffic and road condition are the great challenges on Indian roads. He said that in European countries, cycling was taught to everyone during their childhood. Balancing, aerothermics, stamina are the basic skills needed for cycling, he says.

Alexi Grewal, an Indo-American, who won Olympic Gold Medal in road cycling in LA Games in 1984, and was part of TfN in 2017, is back again as a volunteer in this edition to mentor young talented riders who are using TfN as a platform to achieve bigger cycling goals globally.

The cyclists will traverse 950 km around the pristine Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, across the Western Ghats, passing through three states - Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The cyclists will pass through Hassan, Kushalnagar, Sultan Bathery, Udhagamandalam, Kalpetta and return to Mysuru on December 16.

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TfN: These cycling enthusiasts pedal for a cause

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