World cyclist Pushkar Shah: Photo-Pushkar facebook
The world cyclist Pushkar Shah a daring and adventurous youth from Nepal, who went around the world and visited 150 countries in 11 years, has many things to share with the world about his world tour in a cycle.
Highlights Tourism recently talked to him. The following is his narrative of his Cycle world tour that began from Nepal almost 22 years ago.
I reached across seven continents, touched the soil, took bath with the continent water. I drank the water of seven continents. But Nepal is the world’s most beautiful country. Nepal is the world’s most beautiful gem.
Cycle and cycling are for those who want to remain hale and healthy. Nepal is geo heaven for mountain biking if Nepal’s landscape is taken into account. I touched the Seven Wonders of the World. I touched the highest peak in the world and reached the lowest part of the sea in the world. But as I returned to my country the state did not offer me a single bunch of flowers.
It has not been very hard to travel by cycle except during the lockdown because it is not like traveling by vehicle or buses. However, few programs within the country and outside the country have been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
I am engaged in the cycle campaign since I started the world travel in the cycle. We have launched a cycle campaign within the country for the last decade to let cycle rights be allowed to be a means of transportation. We demand cycle-friendly towns to be made.
In this connection in my leadership, we had started a cycle campaign-Kathmandu cycle city 2020- with the support of students of Kathmandu University in 2067 BS.
After ten years we held a world cycle seminar last month. 170 country members were present on the occasion. We did it as a virtual seminar for that campaign. But covid-19 cheated us. Lalitpur roads have given us our victory. Our demand is to give space to cycle as space given to other vehicles.
When I evaluate myself, I think I did something good for the country as I reached most of the places of the world. So far, I have reached 155 countries of the world. One life is not enough to go around the world, but it is something extraordinary for an ordinary man like me.
I came to Kathmandu to do higher study. My dream then was to become a master in the school. But my stay in Kathmandu made me feel that the world is very large. So, I felt that I should extend my dream to cycling around the world.
The longest time I spend was six months in the USA, where I visited 36 states. I visited Caribbean countries. The cultures and languages also give challenges to the journey. We think English is an international language, but articulation is the world’s language as I presumed during my cycle journey across the world.
At times the language was a barrier in some places and I had to stay in the jungles for not being able to cross the road in the remote areas. Sometimes, I would ask them to give me a resting place and they would bring something else. Some people in other corners of the world even don’t understand our sign language about food.
I saw both the highest development and lowest development during my world trip. America is not only the land of development, but they also have beggars. Even in Asia Japan has the highest development. Switzerland has trains running across the hills. In some counties, I used to ask for monetary support to continue my journey. But in Africa, I found many hungry and famished people asking alms from me.
According to my perception, life is a journey. I have cycled across the Andes and Rocky mountains in minus temperature while I have traveled across the hot desert of Tanzania, Sometimes; I went famished, sometimes I spent restless nights and sometimes luxury nights in five-star hotels. So life is what is present and what you experience.
After Nepal, I liked Norway and Switzerland as I saw hills, rivers, lakes similar to that of Nepal. But for me, Nepal is the most beautiful country in the world. It cannot be compared with any other country in the world. We are stepping on the gem to search for the gem.
Nepal is only a tiny nation. But the highest peak is here. The world peace messenger lord Buddha is also here, natural beauty is here which cannot be described in mere poems. The multiethnic community here is beyond descriptions. Now, we only need craftsmanship to polish and refine this gem.
I think political discipline is very much in need here which is the backbone of politics. If the government cannot maintain discipline then the subjects or people cannot be expected to follow the discipline.
I think the cycle may be the first vehicle which is very significant. We use a cycle, then motorbike to show our financial status, then take a car. Then we visit the doctor and the doctor says you should do exercise that is to do the paddling. So life goes back to paddling.
Cycle and environment are related to finance. We don’t need one-liter petrol daily to drive a motorbike. It means we save 3000 rupees in a month. Cycling and paddling give extra energy to the mental area.
It is a good exercise. The common people think that those riding cycles are people with low income and status. But slowly people are realizing that we should ride a cycle for the safety of health. There is the glamour of cycle ride nowadays. So, healthy people take a cycle to be healthy.
Slowly priority is being given to cycle. So, the vehicles on the road should give equal importance to cycle rider. For awareness, we do cycle rally through various towns from Kathmandu to Lumbini. Kathmandu to Janakpur. We also organize a cycle rally to touch seven national heritages of the Kathmandu valley. Cycle journeys can make us feel and touch nature. Gradually the craze for the cycle is increasing.
Cycle and Tourism
Nepal’s landscape is for mountain bikes and adventure tourism though it is so tiny in the territory. The Great Himalayan trail from Darchula to Eastern Nepal was introduced by SNV. It takes 45 days to complete.
There is a high possibility of cycle tourism here. The sense of moving around by cycle has just developed. A large number of cyclists are coming up who had gone to Rara lake too. They have reached all meadows and valleys of the country.
How can cycle attract the tourists?
It is not necessary that we should depend upon foreign tourists. We should think of developing domestic tourism through a cycle trip.
My life is dedicated to cycling as a means of transportation. But it depends on what the state wants to do. I have reached the highest and lowest parts of the world. My cycle has held the national flag for all the time. Now, it is the state to utilize it for tourism development.
Earning a lot of money is not the target of life. We are promoting domestic tourism through the cycle rally. We are starting a cycle rally from Kanchanpur to Jhapa. The 24 days cycle trip will pass through 24 towns of the country which will touch most of the towns such as Dhangadi, Birgunj, Gaidhat, Biratnagar, Kakadbhita, Ghorahi, Tulsipur, Butwal, Nepalgunj of the country through the country is facing covid-19.
Our cycle trip is also to spread the message against Coronavirus. Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), and Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATA) are coordinating with us.
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