Travelling can be immensely therapeutic. And why not? Close proximity to everything that’s beautiful, serene, tranquil can do you no harm. On the contrary it tends to give you more reasons to live. Once you are on the road, you are liberated in the truest sense of the term. And major survival epiphanies stem from magnificent solo trips to the infinity and beyond. But to travel to infinity you’d need a passport and a lot of money. There are however travel tales of people from across the world whose passport was nothing but a bicycle and an inexplicable madness for adventure, and madness should never be curbed; history stands proof.
Rajesh Khandekar: From a shabby Indian shop to around the world
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Some say Rajesh Khandekar’s bicycle has wings. Well, that might as well be true. This thane based grocery shop owner has been to eleven countries across the streets, boulevards and highways of Australia, Asia and New Zealand. Umesh Thakur, another cyclist and an enthusiast in that regard to say the least aided Rajesh in accomplishing this seemingly impossible task. All Rajesh had to do was pay for four flight tickets that intercepted this otherwise eco friendly adventure. His Desi bicycle is stronger and sturdier and surely we don’t question that. His mother says it all fits easily because he is unmarried with a wee bit of glee on her face. She is nevertheless proud of her son. He would carry a note with him in English explaining the benefits of his choice and ask the local embassies of the respective countries to translate them. He would spend nights in temples, front yards and stations but he doesn’t complain. He would cover an average distance of 120 kilometers everyday and survived sometimes on Maggi. In Australia, after a kind stranger gifted him a gas cylinder, he would “cook khichdi and omlette” for the rest of his trip!
Emily Chappell: The World is her Oyster
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Emily Chappell is a London bike courier who set off very early to see the world on a bicycle. She spent 2011-13 cycling across Asia, extending her itinerary from Wales to Japan. In February 2014, she biked across Iceland and in 2015 right up to Seattle from anchorage. This girl is on fire and she has absolutely no intention of stopping. In her personal website she writes, “I like bikes. A lot.” In between her travels she works as a cycle courier in London and not only that she says she is pretty crazy about her job as well. She has published several books on her escapades, empowering and urging women to extend hands in this noble venture.
Heinz Stucke: How much of cycling is too much of cycling?
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Heinz Stucke, spent nearly 50 years of his life cycling covering a distance of 378,000 miles in 196 countries the cumulative impact of which has been meticulous documented in a book. He is now 75 and left his hometown in 1962 on a three speed bike to whichever place that caught his fancy. He says his trips were far better than working in a factory. He has had several accidents minor and major but that doesn’t falter him. “bicycles are a wonderful passport. You meet people when you are on a bicycle as you are considered a good person. You get people curious and then they approach you.” Brompton bicycle chief executive will Butler Adams has a lot to say about this man who has been setting new records for the world. “Heinz is such a man who spent fifty years circumnavigating our planet at a speed with time to absorb nature of the land he travelled through.”
Such journals only inspire us to do more, achieve more, travel more. Nothing is impossible and these brave people are proving that every day. Besides, when there is a bicycle, there is a way!
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