Kerala cyclist eyes American trail after UK expedition

Fayis Asraf Ali
Fayis Asraf Ali

London | A 37-year-old engineer from Kerala who took up cycling a few years ago just as a keep-fit option recently completed a major long-distance challenge, covering nearly 22,000 kilometres cycling across 30 countries from India to the UK and is now planning a similar American trek.

Fayis Asraf Ali from Kozhikode cycled for 450 days before concluding his ride at the iconic Tower Bridge in London last month, camping in cities across Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Turkiye, Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium and France.

The electronics and communications engineer's “Ecowheelers” mission of undertaking this enormous challenge is to create awareness around a series of causes, including a green agenda for the world to move towards zero carbon emissions.

“This voyage has a lot of social values rather than being an adventure ride,” said Ali, who arrived at his “dream destination of Tower Bridge in London" on June 1.

“Through this ride, I intend to create awareness about fitness and healthcare, End Polio Now of the Rotary Mission, promote conflict resolution and peacebuilding, ‘go green’ by focusing on zero carbon emissions, and an anti-drugs message in campuses through discussions and presentations with student groups en route,” he said.

The father of two was overjoyed to see his two boys, nine-year-old Fahzin Omar and five-year-old Izin Nahel, waiting for him with his mother at the end of his cycling tour which was flagged off in Kerala on Independence Day in August 2022.

“I am proud to be married to this amazing man who is a doting father,” said his wife Dr Asmin Fayis.

“He has already spoken at 24 schools, 10 colleges and three universities during the stretch of his ride,” she shared.

Ali is riding on an American Surly Disk Trucker Cycle weighing around 50 kg, which was sponsored by UAE-based travel and luggage accessories company Para John, with Dubai-based Emirates First and Rotary International among his supporters. He is now seeking support for a similar American cycling tour, which he hopes to undertake in the coming months.

“This ride has given me tons and tons of memories and achievements. What I understood from my ride is there exist no boundaries in the people’s minds and souls. I got so much support from everyone throughout my journey, regardless of the country I travelled to. I stayed with families in Iran, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and many more places,” he recalled.

The cyclist is currently undertaking several university tours and discussions across the UK and hopes to encourage more cycling enthusiasts to take up similar healthy causes.

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