Exploring the world on a bicycle

KABEER YOUSUF –

He advocates unity among human beings and loves giving back to nature. He hates flights and other means of transport except his bicycle — it has been his trusted companion for the last 25 years going in different places all around the world.
Hugo is a million miles away from his home in Belgium. But his ideals remain the same and his message has remained consistent. Whichever country he decides to embark on, his message is the propagation and promotion of healthy lifestyle. He also advocates harmony among peoples of various continents to make earth a better place to live in.
Referencing the different wars and misunderstandings going on in every part of the world today, Hugo shared, “My message is simple. We are all one race — human beings. I don’t find any reason why we should fight each other.”
Instead of wasting energy on senseless fights, this 55-year old electrician by profession thinks that life is to fragile that caring for life should be one of every human being’s priority.
“Follow a healthy lifestyle. Ride a bicycle everyday,” he said.
He embarked on his world travel in 1990 astride his pet bicycle. He has traversed continents and in the Middle East, there are a few he is yet to visit. His routine is that he would work for two to three months and save some money that is sufficient to feed him on his few months of travels. His is a mobile lifestyle — no strings attached, no office to report to. Once he starts running short of funds, he would return home and resume the cycle again.
“I enjoy visiting places on this (points at his bicycle). The pleasure I derive out of this passion is incomparable. What makes Oman the best of all countries I visited is the people. Seriously, Oman is one of the few open places and a wonderful place to visit. Undoubtedly, I must say the biggest asset of Oman is its people,” a rather loquacious Hugo said, earnest about the words he spoke.
Being a globetrotter who lived more on his bicycle than his own home or elsewhere, Hugo has a full-fledged carry bag with all provisions that can maintain him and get his vehicle repaired when it is damaged. His bags, which are securely attached to his bike, contains not only food provisions but tents, his tools for repairing the bicycle, and a stuffed puppy which has been accompanying him through the last 25 years.
“The puppy has to remain hidden when I was India,” he said explaining that it was so in demand among the children who always gathered around him that he has to hide it to keep it safe.
Asked of what to him has been most alarming in his world travel so far, Hugo said that pollution is one of the world’s greatest issues eating a great part of the planet and creating a lot of issues for different people.
“Pollution, pollution everywhere. It’s a major issue the world has to face head on,” he said.
“The big cities are especially polluting the world and killing it. Unless they take immediate action to stop it, it will be a real menace. Riding my bicycle and passing through the big cities, I always have the feeling of wanting to throw up,” he said.
Not worried by the threat of not sleeping in a comfortable room, Hugo said, “I don’t care about where I am heading or where I would spend the night. The world is an open space for me and people are my brothers and sisters.”
When Hugo bought his ticket going to Oman from Brussels, what he saw in picture was an arid land with 365 days of sunlight, tall mountains and seas that seemed to electrify the hot climate.
“It is a real shock to me that Oman has the loveliest weather and I really love the climate despite my impressions of a hot arid land earlier,” he said.
Wherever he went, Hugo said motorists had full regard for him and his bicycle and they used to give way and that really touched him.
“It is a good sign that people, motorists respect the two-wheeled vehicle and the rider and I loved it. I love this country and people…and will certainly come back,” he said.