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Intrepid cyclist targets Everest

Pushkar Shah
Pushkar Shah spreads his message of peace in Lebanon

A Nepalese cyclist who has pedalled around 150 countries since 1998 to promote world peace has announced the next stage of his odyssey.

"I plan to climb Everest in 2010 with flags of all the countries I have visited," Pushkar Shah said while on a brief break from his travels in Nepal.

"This mission is not about material gain or international fame. It's simply about spreading the message of peace."

Mr Shah has cycled to Africa, America and Europe to spread his message.

He hopes that by the time he commences his climb of Everest next year he will have ridden 390,000km (242,334 miles) around the world.

Inspired

"If you see a Nepalese guy panting and puffing on a bicycle with a sticker 'I ride therefore I am' please yield and for one second think about how you as an individual can contribute to world peace," Mr Shah says.

Pushkar Shah in South Africa
The cyclist has travelled to 150 countries

"This is my 10th year and I have already toured 150 countries and hope to complete the world tour in a total of 11 years. During my tour, I visit schools and clubs in different communities and like to speak about peace, respect for other religions and cultures, living in harmony, respect for human rights and democratic values."

Mr Shah was inspired to take to to the saddle after the death of his father, a peace-keeping soldier, in 1986.

He cycles 10 hours a day on average, drinks five to six litres of water and covers about 100km (62 miles).

Furthermore he says that he has not been ill once during his journey - "not even a headache".

He began his journey with just 100 Nepalese rupees ($1.50) handed to him by his mother. But as his story spread, cash donations came in through a website that tracks his progress.

He uses the money to buy airline tickets but not for accommodation expenses, because he receives constant offers of shelter and assistance during his travels.

It can be a hazardous way of eating and sleeping. Mr Shah says that there are some days that he goes without proper food, instead surviving on discarded orange peels or fruits from trees and plants.

He has also been through some testing times.

He was knocked unconscious by robbers who kidnapped him in Mexico in 2003, but managed to escape into the desert with cuts and bruises.

He was also assaulted in his tent while travelling in Barbados, when a man sneaked into his tent and beat him up.

But the ever-optimistic cyclist says that the bad memories are more than offset by the people who have offered him kindness and hospitality.

In March 2001, Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hilary bought him a new bicycle after hearing that his old one had been stolen while he was in New Zealand.



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