The vast open spaces of Oman are what German cyclist Peter Hartelt didn’t expect at all, and while resting from his exertions in the Nizwa Souq, he explained yesterday that it actually makes him a little bit lonely. “My wife is my number one supporter and sponsor, and I don’t think I ever realised how much I would miss her on this trip,” he said.
Usually domiciled in Leipzig, Hartelt explained that it is “a beautiful city in Eastern Germany, of about 600,000 people,” where he is employed as a social welfare manager.
“So my cycling is very much a difference, a big change from what my work is, and my little odyssey here, and throughout the Middle East is a real enthusiasm,” he explained.
He said that his journey had begun with 7 weeks in Iran, before he, “took a ship to the United Arab Emirates. From there I bused to Muscat, and onwards to Salalah, intending to ride the coast road all the way back to the capital, Muscat. But the headwinds were too strong, so I took another bus back to Muscat. Six to eight hundred kilometres along the coast has just proven way too much. It’s not even the distances, but how much water you can take, and being on your own can be a little of a drag. I have no doubt it would be fun with company, so that’s a big learning I will take from this particular trip. Really, I had underestimated the task ahead of me, the distances between the towns, and underestimated the need to carry a lot of water. Now I’m much wiser,” he laughed.
“So, I took a bus to Nizwa, the ancient city, where I have this beautiful castle and all the culture and history of the region is all around me here, so now I am taking in all of these sights and sounds of the interior.”
He marvelled at how genuinely he has been greeted in his travels here, and how safe he has felt in the Sultanate.
“This is obviously a very exotic country, and there is no doubt I will come back again, maybe next year, more aware and better prepared, to do the Salalah to Muscat ride along the coast with some companions, because the coast is so, so beautiful.”
Hartelt is not the only foreign cyclist to be found pedaling the regions of Oman, but may well be another who was unaware of what lay before him, and maybe therein lies an entrepreneurial opportunity for an enterprising Omani to set up an SME to put together ‘cycle tour’ packages and support while they are here in the Sultanate. Given this enthusiastic German cyclist’s experience, it would seem like a good idea, no?
PHOTO BY LENA PETERSEN