Allan Cascante Bejarano from Costa Rica has been ridding his bicycle for over a 3 years, almost 40 000 kilometers and 42 countries so far and the list is growing. Abhijit Ganguly spoke to him on the sidelines of his lecture organised by the Indo Hispanic language Academy at the International Kolkata Book Fair 2017.
What made you decide to see the world from a bicycle seat?
Green energy, no pollution, its free! As you move slowly in your bicycle,so you have time to see many things that many travellers won’t be able to. Besides you work out a lot.
How is travelling on a bicycle a different experience to a more conventional method of travel?
Its more challenging, you must be ready for any kind of surprises, like mechanical problems, weather. You also have to deal with the traffic as well.
People will see you in a different way. Some are not used to see somebody from another country riding with such a big bicycle carrying many things.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
For some countries I had a little idea about them. I have heard things, both positive and negative, but once you reach you realise the reality. For example Georgia, I had no idea about this wonderful country. I was thinking about spending just 2 weeks. I fell in love with this country and I decided to ride and see many things, eventually I ended up spending up almost 3 months.
I have no plans, I take care of them on the way. People on the rode advises me .I do a little bit of research about some attractions and then trace my route to get to those places. I am just ready for anything. I epect anything from anywhere. For instnce,I visited Kolkata, and had no idea about the book fair. Coincidentally , the theme country was Costa Rica. Its been wonderful.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Many, I have done a lot camping back home, but mostly in safe places, like national parks.After, I left home I’ve done wild camping several times.The first night Iwas a little afraid. Once i heard many noises coming from out my tent, like people walking on dry leaves, I was confused, so I just waited and after half an hour I came out of my tent and I saw many armadillos babies just walking with their armadillo mother. Soon, I got used to the sound of nature. Now, I can recognise many of them.People have invited me for parties, birthdays, celebrations and of course and many places, that mean, alcohol, music, dancing, sharing experiences, etc.
What has been the scariest moment so far?
Many times I see drivers over taking in a really crazy way. They even don’t look at me. I must pull over and just move away. I really hate that. Many cyclist around the world have been killed because of stupid drivers.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
That bucket is full of countries and places.