Kamran Ali was born and raised in Layyah, Pakistan, and has been living in Germany since 2002.
Kamran’s first bicycle tour was as a 13 years old who picked up two friends on a little bicycle and did a round-trip to a nearby town covering 52 kilometers in a day. His longest trip in Pakistan was in 2002 when he pedalled about 400 Kilometers from Multan to Lahore in less than two days in the blistering heat. This tour was a bit special for Kamran because few days ago he had quit the teaching job he loved to regain the lost freedom and adventure.
Later on, Kamran moved to Germany to study higher. During the flight from Islamabad to Frankfurt, he had a strange dream with eyes wide open. From 40 thousand feet above the ground, he looked down through the window and was amazed to see a reflection of him on the lonely roads crossing barren deserts and the rugged terrain. He was pedalling on the endless strip of tarmac under scorching sun, with the desert wind singing songs and the Duduk music playing in the far distance.
Throughout the eight hours of flight, Kamran continued to gaze out as his eyes followed along with an invisible dot of a cyclist in the infinite landscape. When the plane landed at the airport the cyclist had disappeared far behind the tall metropolitan buildings, but his image had been etched into his memory forever.
Nine years went by, with him sitting in front of a computer screen. He finished the Masters Degree and later earned a Ph.D. degree in computer science, but there wasn’t a single day when he didn’t remember this dream. Every now and then the picture of the cyclist riding through exotic places would appear to fill his eyes.
He could no longer ignore the calling and decided to pursue this dream. In 2011, he left from Germany to Pakistan on a bicycle.
In forty five days, he crossed eight countries, and reached half-way by covering almost 4500 kilometres.
When Kamran reached the Sivas city in Turkey, he received the news of hospitalisation of his mother due to a heart-attack. Kamran decided to abandon his tour, and flew back to Pakistan to be with her mum.
Not only his dream was left incomplete, but more importantly he had lost his mother to whom he had dedicated his journey. He regretted keeping mum wait for four years as his cycling plans kept delaying the visit to Pakistan.
His journey from Germany to Pakistan in 2011 is documented in the following film.
Biking Home—Kamran’s bicycle ride from Germany to Pakistan from Kamran Ali on Vimeo.
Three more years have flown past, but even today this dream still doesn’t let him sleep! Kamran has been to twenty-two countries by bicycle, seen many places, but a voice is calling him to set out on this voyage again. So Kamran has decided to soon commence his bicycle journey from exactly where he had left off three years ago. Starting from Sivas Turkey in March 2015, his ROUTE will cover seven thousand kilometres in over four months, taking him through remote places in Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Pakistan.
Kamran will be the first Pakistani to do a bicycle tour of such kind. He hopes that his journey will inspire the people back home to take on their own adventures, as well as reveal a positive image of the country which has been in the news lately for wrong reasons.
He wants to make others to believe that dreams must never be surrendered and as Paulo Coelho writes in The Alchemist novel, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.
At the age, when his friends and peers are moving up the ladder of career and starting their families, Kamran is at the crossroad in his life, having recently quit his hard-earned job, risked his professional career, and ready to make other sacrifices just to follow his dream. It is a big leap of faith for him!
Lastly, on a personal level this journey will provide him a catharsis, by fulfilling a promise made to his late mum and giving a sense of reunion.
Update: Mission Accomplished. I finished my bicycle tour and reached my final destination Layyah, Pakistan on 8th August, 2015.
28 Countries travelled by bicycle: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Malta, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, France, England, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan.