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Mumbai: Wheels across the world

Updated on: 10 February,2024 07:34 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar | hemal@mid-day.com

Cycling couple on multi-nation tour learn a shared humanity burns bright through a sometimes dark world

Mumbai: Wheels across the world

Wheel to travel, say Justin and Ann-Sophie

Key Highlights

  1. German couple have switched wheels for heels on a week-long break in Mumbai
  2. The husband-wife duo have been on a multi-nation tour on their bicycles
  3. Justin and Ann-Sophie took off last year with an aim

German couple Justin Wenze and Ann-Sophie have switched wheels for heels on a week-long break in Mumbai. The husband-wife duo have been on a multi-nation tour on their bicycles, starting from their hometown, Berlin, in August 2023. Justin and Ann-Sophie said, “Currently, our bicycles are stowed away for a couple of days while we take in the sights and sounds of Mumbai like any tourists. We are taking a slight respite from the bikes, giving ourselves some rest before cycling again.”


People connect
Justin and Ann-Sophie took off last year with an aim to see, “Many nations, places, as much of the world as we can,” on bicycle. Intermittently, they have crossed borders via trains or planes, “but the overall aim was to have a bicycling experience. It is through cycling that we have a people-to-people connect, and see the world through a different lens. We kept our travel plans fluid though. We had a loose plan, which we could change depending on situations,” they added.



To Nepal
Both cyclists were in Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for approximately two months. They flew into India from Muscat, a few days earlier and traversed the coastline in Mangaluru. Now in Mumbai they said, “Next on our schedule is a train to Patna, after which we plan to go cycling to Kathmandu (Nepal) from Patna.” Ann-Sophie stated, “The break is reinvigorating. It also gives some time for perspective and introspection about the diverse experiences we have had so far,” she explained.


Mumbai moves
While off their bicycles, the couple have to tick off several things on their checklist in Mumbai. “We have to shop for some basics, see what we can get here and visit friends. We will be busy, because there seems to be so much to do in the city. So far, Mumbai has been such a pleasant surprise. Perhaps we were not expecting such a modern city. We love so many buildings here too, they are truly beautiful,” they said.

Warm, welcoming
While just 10 days ago, they did not have a definite date of return, now, they plan to go back to Germany by September this year. “We have a wedding to attend,” they explained. Meanwhile, the journey so far, “has opened the windows of the world and our mind. People have been so welcoming and helpful. If there were any fears, they have fallen away with every pedal of our bikes.

Lessons learnt
“Today we live in a world where darkness dominates the news. War and strife, threats of conflict and confrontation make headlines. Yet, on the ground, for ordinary people travellers like us, it is the shared humanity we have witnessed that shines through that gloom,” they explained. “There is also the realisation that, “the world is much smaller than we think it is. Before we started this expedition, we used to think – oh India… that is so far. Today, we are already in India. Travel has shrunk our world, but broadened our horizons,” they added

Mountains calling
With several months before they wind up their tour, the couple has learnt that people all across the world are more the same, “People universally want to be liked, loved, pursue happiness” than they are different. Cycling till September will bring more perspectives for the two. Next classroom of life is Kathmandu, where the Himalayas surely will sing a song to the soul of the cyclists, whose journey so far has been a mix of the physical, cerebral and philosophical.

Aug 2023
Date when the couple started their journey

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