UAE: Indian man visits 103 countries on cycle, makes pitstop in Emirates to spread 'green' message

Dr Raj recently came to the UAE to check on saplings he planted in 2018

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SM Ayaz Zakir

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Muhammad Sajjad

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Published: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 11:13 PM

Dr Raj Phanden, fondly known as 'Cycle Baba', has dedicated his life to environmental protection and has been propagating the message for the last 8 years on his bicycle. He has travelled to 103 countries planting saplings and spreading awareness on environment issues.

He has started an initiative called ‘Wheels for Green' and has covered over 105,000 kilometres. With a PhD in Ayurveda, he embarked on this mission in 2016 from Haryana, India.

110,000 saplings planted

“While I was out one night, I felt that I should do something to save the environment. I took my cycle the next day and started my travel within Haryana (a state in North India),” said Dr Raj.

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During his journey, he has planted more than 110,000 saplings. “Besides planting the saplings, I have conducted over 1,200 seminars and managed to save 45 tonnes of carbon. My foundation, Wheels for Green, focuses on educating people about environmental pollution, global warming, climate change, and sustainability,” said Dr Raj.

Pitstop in UAE

Dr Raj recently made a pitstop in the UAE to check on saplings he planted in 2018. Expressing satisfaction, he said: “I am delighted at the progress of the trees. People here have taken care of it very well. I am committed to creating a greener and healthier planet."

Daily routine

Cycle Baba's daily routine involves covering 80 to 100 kms on his bicycle, sleeping in a tent and relying on the generosity of the Indian diaspora for food and shelter.

“I am very thankful to the people who support me and help me propagate the message of saving the environment,” said Dr Raj.

His expedition isn’t sponsored but he sustains his mission through revenue from videos he posts on YouTube.

Visiting his hometown

During the covid-19 pandemic, Cycle Baba revisited India and spent time there, emphasizing the importance of environmental conservation even during challenging times.

“The only time I returned home after eight years was during the pandemic. The borders were closed and I couldn’t carry on with my expedition. I visited my family and spent time with them,” said Dr Raj.

He embarked on a ferry to Iran to spread awareness on the cause and will travel to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and then to Russia before reaching Mongolia and China.

With the Americas as the next frontier, Cycle Baba plans to start his journey from Argentina, aiming to reach Alaska by 2030. “I have not been to Americas yet, but I will start my journey in the next couple of years. By 2030, I am targeting to travel to every country and rest for a while before coming up with another mission to save the planet,” said Dr Raj.

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