Riding a bike is part of many people's childhoods, but for one Winnipeg man the pedaling begun much later in life.

Jean-Fréd Nazon was born with severed optical nerves in both eyes, making him legally blind with only 10 per cent vision.

"I can't see details far away, but I still can enjoy scenery," Nazon explained.

Growing up, instead of helping him face the challenges of not being able to see, Nazon said his mother called him stupid. She beat him, especially if he complained about his disability, he said.

"In my 30s, I discovered how serious the abuse was," he said. "I was depressed, I was upset."

His mother also forbade him from doing the one thing he desperately wanted to do: ride a bike.

Now at 53 years old, living alone in Winnipeg, Nazon finally found the courage to get on a bicycle.

"Riding a bike gives me a sense of independence, gives me a sense of mobility," he said. "It has completely changed my self-esteem for the better."

But it's not easy to ride a bike with such poor vision, so he has a rear view mirror to help expand the little sight he does have.

Nazon said he has also learned how to rely more heavily on other senses while riding.

"I listen to traffic, I listen to engine sounds," he said.

Nazon's cycling has taken him far beyond Winnipeg's city limits. He has travelled to cities across the world, showing his perseverance and determination, and has just finished writing an autobiography of his international rides.

He has self-published the book, which he will be translating in several languages he learned while growing up in Switzerland.

The book is not an instruction guide on teaching blind people how to ride bikes, but more of a story that proves that anything is possible.

"It's a breakthrough from the bubble I was closed in for so long," he said.

Nazon said he hopes his story will help inspire others to defy boundaries, as he has.