Disabled Cyclists’ Journey to Ladakh from Kerala


With the recent and ongoing Olympics wherein, we have been witnessing varied number of sportsmen and sportswomen competing and determined to bag a gold as it is their sole goal, meet Mohammad Ashraf, a cyclist from Thrissur, Kerala, with a strong-willed heart determined to achieve his goal to cycle 3,700 km from his hometown all the way to Ladakh. All this while being partially disabled.

Mohammed prior to his disability worked as a computer engineer in Dubai which he then lost as a result of the bike accident that let to him being immobilized. The accident occurred in the year 2017 and as Ashraf recalls it, he explains how it took a total of nine surgeries along with some years of his life spending in the hospital for him to recover. While he could consider getting a prosthetic leg to help him, the money is an issue as he spent all of his family savings for his recovery at the hospital. However, he does plan on seeking help through fundraising for collecting enough money for the means of getting a prosthetic leg, all this after his trip to Ladakh will be over.

Being met with an awful fate as this one would expect a person to be at a huge loss and unmotivated at best but that is not the case for Ashraf here, on the contrary, he states that with his right leg being paralyzed and merely a few fingers being able to function on his right hand, he won’t let that stop him from achieving any of his goals. With one of those goals being to cycle all the way from his place of residence in Thrissur to and along the lovely valleys and rivers of Ladakh.

Ashraf believes that is disability as they call it is actually an ability and he wants to showcase this to the rest of the world as a sign and a clear depiction of the fact that nothing is impossible. He also explains how it was only last year in the month of April when he discovered cycling as a sport to pick up on ideally to get past his depression, however, the result was better than he expected as he completely fell in love with cycling. His aim currently is to reach Khardung La, a mountain pass in the district of Leh. It is one of the highest motorable passes with its altitude soaring as high as 5359m which is approximately 17,580 feet.

The cyclist also elaborates on his struggle with depression after the accident and his time being hospitalized. He told himself that he had two alternatives, to either accept the whole ordeal as a loss and stay in bed forever or fight it out. The mind is what needed to make the decision and so it was, a decision to fight it out, remembering the words, ‘Nothing is impossible’.

His current plans on his travel to Ladakh are that he will be cycling around 100 to 150 km per day to complete his journey as decided. With that in mind, he started his journey on the 15th of July and has reached Hyderabad so far. He carries with himself, a foldable tent, sleeping bag for when he spends the nights sleeping at petrol pumps. With having travelled over a 1,000 km from his home to Hyderabad, he has also been supported and helped by people with regards to food, cycle gear, and even cash in Hyderabad.

Things can go bad and awry, and the worst could happen but one should not let any of that hold them back or bring them down from achieving great heights and in this case, it being cycling over 3,000 km all the way to Ladakh. This resolution to overcome obstacles in life is one we all must have, like cyclist Ashraf himself.


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