UAE: Specially-abled Nepali cyclist to embark on 7-month-long cycling tour across 34 countries

Chitra Poudel has toured more than 80 countries and covered over 200,000km on a cycle since 2003

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Thu 25 May 2023, 8:16 AM

Last updated: Wed 7 Jun 2023, 8:22 AM

In a fantastic display of determination and resilience, a specially-abled cyclist from Nepal has made a stopover in the UAE before embarking on a cycling tour across 34 African countries. This extraordinary trip he is making with his friend comes after an already impressive track record of touring more than 80 countries and covering over 200,000 kilometres on a cycle since 2003.

Poudel in Israel
Poudel in Israel

Specially-abled world cyclist Chitra Poudel's interest in cycling began in early 2003 when he saw a specially-abled French national touring his hometown in Nepal on a cycle. “The moment I saw him, I could just admire the feat he has achieved. When I spoke to him, he mentioned his adventures and expeditions to remote areas,” said Poudel.


“Being affected by polio in my right leg, I couldn’t resist taking a tour in Nepal. This boosted my spirit, and I later toured India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and neighbouring countries. In my later expeditions, I had [friends] accompanying me,” said Poudel.

Poudel in Thailand
Poudel in Thailand

“I have covered Europe and Asia. This year I am covering Africa. I have plans for the Americas and Australia soon,” added Poudel.


The Nepali cyclist arrived in the UAE with a warm welcome from the Nepali community in the country, and has become a symbol of hope and inspiration for individuals facing similar challenges worldwide. “Despite my obstacles, I have cycled mountains, crossed deserts, and pedalled through cities. And I did [all this] to spread a message: that anyone can do anything as determination and resilience can overcome any challenge,” said Poudel.

Poudel in New Zealand
Poudel in New Zealand

Poudel had come to the UAE in 2013, and says, “What I see now is a completely different city. The growth is [far more] spontaneous [than] I have found in any town or city in the world."

Now, having completed his stopover in the UAE, the cyclist, along with his cyclist friend Ramkaji Basnet, is gearing up for his next adventure: their cycling tour across 34 countries in Africa for a duration of nearly seven months. “This expedition will take us through diverse landscapes, cultures, and challenging terrains, offering an opportunity to expand our cycling legacy further,” said Basnet.

Pictured: Ramkaji Basnet
Pictured: Ramkaji Basnet

They will start their journey to Oman, as the Nepali community has invited them there, and will then fly to Kuwait. “We will fly to Seychelles and then to the rest of Africa on the cycles. We have visas of many countries in the continent, but [are] awaiting visas of a few countries,” said Poudel.

Poudel in Nepal
Poudel in Nepal

Daily routine

The duo will cycle for nearly 60 to 65 kilometres every day, taking two breaks for two hours for lunch and refreshments. “Sometimes we cook, and most of the time, people offer us food. We use community centres and restaurants to refresh. However, Africa is now completely new to us. We will figure out our daily routine once we reach there,” said Basnet.

The cyclists will start their journey at 8am until 5pm and will then rest for the day. “We are equipped with all the essentials. We carry tents, mats, clothes, and other basic [necessities],” added Basnet.

After their expedition in Africa, Poudel is eyeing to scribe history in the Guinness Book of World Records. They have been invited there by the Nepali community in the UK, who are helping them be in the books of records. “The current record in this feat is 110 countries. Once I complete my Africa tour, I will complete nearly 116 countries, making me a record holder. Hopefully, we will be awarded the title in England.”

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