If you think riding the stationary bike at the gym is exhausting, imagine riding your bike 28,000 miles through 37 countries in eight years. Tired yet?
Keiichi “Kei” Iwasaki , 36, of Japan began such an adventure when he grew tired of working at his father’s air-conditioning company. ”I thought to myself that ‘My life will soon be over before I do what I want to do!’ so I decided to start this trip,” Iwasaki told the London Telegraph.
Iwasaki left his home in Maebashi, Japan in April 2001 with just 160 yen, around $2, in his pocket with the intention of biking through Japan. He enjoyed the trip so much that he caught a ferry to South Korea. He has since been robbed by pirates and arrested in India, nearly died after being attacked by a rabid dog in Tibet, and narrowly escaped marriage in Nepal.
Iwasaki’s bikes (he’s on his fifth now; two were stolen and two were broken) have been his main form of transportation throughout the journey. He says he does not want to fly because “I wanted to see and feel everything with my own skin. With bicycle, I can always feel the air and atmosphere of the place.”
According to his blog, other than the occasional ferry, the only time he did not ride his bike or walk was when he used a hand rowboat. He first used a rowboat to travel from the source of the Ganges River in India to the sea, a distance of over 800 miles that took him 35 days. Iwasaki decided to also row the Caspian Sea when he was passing by and “I just wondered ‘how big Caspian sea is?’ so I tried to [cross] using hand rowing boat again, it takes 25 days,” he wrote.
He counts his biggest achievement as climbing Mount Everest from sea level without using any transportation, the first Japanese man to do so. Iwasaki is currently in Switzerland waiting to climb Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc.
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Iwasaki funds his travels by performing magic tricks on the street. He plans to travel to Africa, through the Americas and finally, back to Japan. He believes the rest of the trip will take him five years, after which he wants to write a book about his adventures.
Photo: Above, via SMNS, Map, via The London Telegraph