India’s First Blind and Sighted Tandem Cycling Expedition to Himalayas by Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation
Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation is an organization rooted in the belief that sport has the power to catalyze more inclusive, accepting, healthy societies. Using adventure sport as a platform to promote inclusion between Persons with Disability (PwDs) and the able-bodied community, ABBF believes that change starts at the individual level and nurturing friendships that go beyond markers of disability is the key to shattering stigma and stereotype. To this end, ABBF works in five verticals currently – tandem cycling, scuba diving, mountaineering and trekking, paragliding, and marathons – and since inception in 2014, has been able to reach out to 3500 PwDs and over 1.5 lakh people from the mainstream community. This is only the beginning.
In August 2016, our founder Divyanshu Ganatra set out with a sighted captain to pedal from Manali to Khardung La in the Himalayas, a length of 550 kilometers that the team completed in just eight days. He became the first blind tandem cyclist to accomplish the feat. Divyanshu, who lost his eyesight to glaucoma when he was nineteen years old, previously became the first blind solo paraglider in 2014. His thirst for adventure and love for adrenaline sowed the seeds of ABBF, and the community is only growing by the day. When Divyanshu and his captain successfully completed the expedition on September 4th, 2016, ABBF decided this would only be the beginning of our annual tandem cycling expedition, In Sync. Tandem cycling had so much more to offer.
Built to support a minimum of two riders, a tandem cycle is a perfect solution for accessible adventure. On the heels of last year’s success, this year’s edition of In Sync, #M2K2017 has drawn the participation of blind, sighted, as well as amputee cyclists from across India and beyond. Cyclists are as diverse as one can imagine, with professions ranging from corporate giants to language teachers, from the armed forces to motivational speaking. The age bracket ranges from around fifteen to about seventy years old. The experience on board spans seasoned cyclists to those getting on the pedal for the first time ever. With such diversity in lived experiences comes the opportunity for conversation, camaraderie, and personal growth. At ABBF, we have seen time and again that we climb the mountains as strangers and come down as friends. We are confident In Sync will be no different.
The key to the vision of ABBF is involving as many people as possible, inviting them to join us on this journey. For In Sync to be truly path-breaking, paving the road as India’s first inclusive tandem cycling expedition, we need your support and media coverage.
Check out how you can be a part of it here or contact Ms.Yashasvini Rajeshwar