Columbia Bike Guy aims to break records and give back while overcoming mental illness

On a typical morning on Broken Land Parkway in Columbia you can find cars moving, traffic flowing and Athar Khan riding his bike. It’s something he does every single day

 

“It was something for fun,” said Khan. “And then it took over.”

 

That’s how he got the nickname the “Columbia Bike Guy”. At first, cycling started off as a hobby for Athar. But now it’s become so much more.

 

“It helps me with my challenges,” said Athar. “If it stayed in its even more challenging for me so I choose the lesser of the two.“

 

Athar suffers from severe depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Before riding became an outlet, Athar struggled with his mental illness.

 

“It was really heartbroken for me as a mother,” said Shahida Khan. “Before he secluded himself in his room and sometimes he wouldn’t want to go out.”

 

Shahida Khan says the medicine Athar was taking came with challenges. She says, on one hand, the medicine did help. However, it came with a lot of bad side effects.

 

“He suffered a lot. Plus with him I suffered a lot too,” said Shahida Khan.

 

In 2001 Athar decided to stop taking medication. His new medicine? Riding his bike.

 

“I believe this may have been destined for me,” said Athar. “I want to keep going until last breath naturally.”

 

Every single day since 2001, Athar rides his bike around Columbia. He says he’s trying to break the Guinness World Record for days in a row and mileage. While he works to break those records, Athar also works to give back.

 

He spends his days picking up trash, opening drains, helping animals among other things in the area. He tries to do what he can to give back to this community.

 

Athar has no plans on slowing down anytime soon and staying positive every step of the way.

 

“I’m not sad about my life,” said Athar. “Someone can you know are they looking down on me. But I’m happy in what I do and that is what counts. Man is it fun.”

 

Athar’s popularity has grown over the years. His Facebook Fan Page has almost 4,500 fans posting pictures, videos and sharing interactions they’ve shared with the Columbia Bike Guy.

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