By Atiya Riffat
Abdur Rehman Palwa began his quest to cycle across the country in October 2017 from Lahore – 186 days later he arrived in Islamabad having realised that finally his dream came true.
It took 13 days for the ambitious cyclist to reach his first destination: Rawalpindi – a journey of 1,000 kilometres.
He then pedalled to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), spending around 20 days in areas including Waziristan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Dera Ismail Khan.
He even cycled up Shandoor Top located at a height of 12,000 feet.
The next stop for the enthusiast was Balochistan where he covered Gwadar, Qila Saifullah and Mastong before making his way to Sindh.
Palwa spent 38 days in the province, peddling across Karachi, Hyderabad, Thar and Kashmore.
During his approximately 21, 650 kilometre-long journey, the man-on-the-wheel stayed at hotels, friends’ houses and even locals who he befriended.
Speaking about the difficult terrains, Palwa said cycling up to Shandoor top was particularly challenging.
The cyclist went on to say that he aimed to dethrone the Guinness World Record set by an Indian cyclist for the “longest journey by bicycle in a single country”.
The 29-year-old Palwa are philosophy graduated from Government College University. He has already travelled across Pakistan witnessing the heavenly beauty of its different cities as well as hill stations. And this journeying across the length and breadth of his country is what made the young cyclist fall in love with Pakistan once again.
“I had been travelling for two years and then I was advised to associate a purpose with my travelling,” he said. “And so I did.”
Previously, Palwa had travelled across the country on a motorbike with the aim of setting a record. Unfortunately he couldn’t achieve the target.
But he recalls the experience was one that inspired him to aim for something even more adventurous.
Despite the challenges, that included those relating to harsh weather, terrain and at times stamina, Palwa continued on his journey. He even got his feet soaked in freezing water at one point, he shared but nothing deterred him.
So far Palwa has journeyed across 2500 km and aspires to break further records as he progresses on his journey.