Location: Somewhere on NH6 near Dhulagarh toll tax
Me: Hello, quite interesting to see you cycle on the highway
Lars: Well, thank you
Me: Where are you headed? Don’t mind me asking but you seem a tad bit ‘old’ to be cycling on the highway
Lars: Haha! I’m 64 years old and i’m cycling to GOA
This was my first interaction with ‘Crazy guy on a bike’, Lars Albinsson, the 64 year old man from Sweden, currently cycling from Kathmandu to Goa. A captain of a passenger ship by profession, this veteran’s story is not something you hear every day. Read on to know more.
Why do you cycle?
Well, I like to travel and when I do I also want to do something that gives me a bit of exercise.
India is a very interesting place for a European/Westerner to visit. It is in many ways very different from Europe, but still entirely recognizable and fully functional for my needs. I can get along well with English. As a vegetarian I can find very good food in India, which frankly I have had a bit of a problem with in Thailand/Cambodia/Laos, where I have also cycled.
India is still very reasonably prized for a European; and Indians are very helpful in general.
Can you share a particular experience you will cherish always?
I have, many times, been helped by friendly Indians when I have needed to find a hotel for the night etc.Last year when I cycled south along the Indian centre line I came to Dholpur, Rajastan.
I stopped to check my GPS when two young girls came up to me offering to help. It is not often that Indian women at all will talk to foreign men. But those girls, around 16-17 years old, I think, would not be held back by old fashioned ideas and fears. They not only could tell me which way to go but guided me all the way. One of them slipped home for a few minutes to pick up her own bicycle.
Folks of your age are fighting diabetes, how do you manage to cycle 80 kms in a day even today?
I feel very lucky I started doing long cycle trips when I did. I was already 58 years old then and fear that had I waited another few years it would have been too hard for me. Now I think it is the cycling that keeps me relatively healthy.
Which has been your longest tour?How many years have you been touring from?
My longest trip was in the winter of 2012-13. I cycled South from Bangkok and all through Cambodia and Laos and eventually in to Thailand again in the North. That trip came to 4444 kms on the bike.I did my first bike trip in the winter of 2008-2009.
What would be your message to today’s youth?
I think travel is very good for one’s mental growth.
You can see his journal here; https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=tS&doc_id=11445&v=Ee