Monday, 30th October 2017

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Open road beckons special riders

Riding club helps differently abled embrace fun & adventure on scooters with three wheels

By Jayesh Thaker in Jamshedpur
  • Published 18.08.19, 1:23 AM
  • Updated 18.08.19, 1:23 AM
  • a min read
Members of Willpower Ride Club in Sakchi, Jamshedpur, last month. Telegraph picture

Wheelchairs, crutches and people’s pity cannot be the sum total of a differently abled person’s life, Arun Kumar Singh, a member of the Jharkhand state commissioner for disabled persons, decided.

So, two months ago, Singh, 40, who has had polio since he was a year old and also runs an NGO Jharkhand Viklang Manch for the differently abled, formed a unique club. Called the Willpower Ride Club, it seeks to organise “fun scooter trips” for the differently abled near Jamshedpur.

Willpower Ride Club already has close to 40 members, including women. All are in the 30 to 55 age group, and either have polio or have been the victim of an accident.

They all use three-wheel scooters — specially made to give the differently abled extra balance — to make short trips. “So far we have gone once to Narwapahar near Jaduguda, some 20km from Jamshedpur. We also educated local people there on saving water.

That was last month. The trip gave us confidence,” said Singh.

“Now, we’ve planned rides to Dimna Lake, Hathi Kheda temple in Bodam block of East Singhbhum, and Dalma hills,” Singh said. “But, the Dalma ride will be after monsoon when the slopes are no longer slippery.”

Why did he decide on this unique initiative? “Differently abled people also want fun. Life mein maza hona chahiye (Life should have fun). And, we want to plan independent outings to tell society that we also have skills and the desire to do things on our own,” he said. “People should respect and not pity us.”

On the money, he said the well-off members pitched in, while a lot of well-wishers donated voluntarily. “Fuel cost is a big factor. Also, the scooters need to be in good shape before a ride. So, we need some mechanic costs. There are a few logistic costs too,” he added.

Singh wants more members for Willpower Ride Club.

“Anyone from the district who is differently abled can join this club,” he said, sharing his number 8789831592.

“Our rides are all about having fun, reclaiming independence and showing willpower. Also, every ride will have an awareness message, be it ‘save water’ or was ‘keep your surroundings clean’. We want people to be inspired,” he said.