SALALAH, Sept 18 – He has pedalled more than 34,000 km covering tough terrains mostly of South East Asia and now in Oman on way to launch his Middle Eastern journey. Besides them he has many other small trips in his own country which run into some thousands of kilometres, but he does not count them because he finds them “really too small to be counted.” Dr Raj Phanden started his Middle Eastern cycling journey on Sunday evening from Salalah to Muscat from where he will go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Turkey and as many countries as possible, because he has to take some spontaneous decisions due to local laws and visa issues for entry into a country.
A medical doctor by profession, Dr Raj counts 33,100 km till May 2018 his distance covered on his bicycle, which is equipped with all possible things of daily needs including a tent, navigator, cooking materials and basic equipment to fix if any issue comes with his cycle. “Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau,” counts Dr Raj when asked how many countries did he cover on his cycle.
“A total of 21 countries with 590 seminars and 58,000 saplings planted with the support of friends, relatives, cycling clubs and Lions Club’s members. The support has been largely in terms of kind and cash that include accommodation, food, camera, cycle and importantly their blessings. Now I am in Oman and doing mission Middle East,” he said in an interview with the Observer just before his journey from Salalah to Muscat.