Indian cyclist promotes environmental awareness; learn challenges of life | India News – Times of India


SINGAPORE: Encouraged by the success of his over 7,500-km 103-day cycling expedition from India to Singapore, an Indian cyclist is planning the next venture to some key countries in Southeast Asia and Australia in November to spread environmental awareness. Ashish Jerry Choudhary, 25, from an Army family in Budania village in Rajasthan‘s Jhunjhunu district, is on a mission to promote environmental awareness, especially discouraging the use of plastics by talking to students of schools and educational institutions in the countries he is visiting.
Choudhary, a Bachelor of Education, estimates that there are about 10-15 expeditions by Indian cyclists every year with a mission to do good for the environment and planet.
He is set to embark on the next expedition during the school holidays in November. He will fly to Bangkok to venture into the Indo-Chinese states of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
He would then fly to Taiwan, and follow on cycling expeditions in the Philippines and Australia, all of which will involve costly flights but Choudhary is confident of sponsorship support in the form of crowdfunding.
Choudhary’s first expedition was supported by pan-India NGO Akhil Bhartiya Marwadi Mahela Samelan.
The son of an Army JCO, Choudhary told PTI that he is also taking notes along the routes, learning the culture, lifestyles, and traditions of people he meets during his expeditions for a book that he hopes to publish in 2027.
“A book is a must,” Choudhary said of sharing his learnings and experience of cycling expeditions.
The cyclist flew from Imphal to Bangkok for his Southeast Asian expedition and lived in Buddhist temples where he tried Thai food for the first time, which was difficult for Choudhary as he is a vegetarian, having to opt for bread and milk.
The cyclist also faced challenges like sleeping on beaches under a tent, which is a part of his 40 kg belongings. During his journey, he also had to repair and manage his foldable bicycle which was a gift from 52-year-old Canadian Todd Tyrtle, who cycled through India in recent years.
Though his visa to enter Malaysia was first rejected, he reapplied. Once he crossed the Thai border, his travel and stay in Malaysia became much easier as he was accommodated by Sikh communities at Gurdwaras as well as South Indians and the Indian restaurants spread across the Peninsular. Malaysia has the largest Indian community of over 2 million.
In Singapore, Choudhary was hosted by the Indian community which gave him an in-depth understanding of the Indian diaspora. He had also made a short trip to the Indonesian island of Batam, a tourist resort where the authority issues on-arrival visas. Choudhary started his India-Singapore expedition on October 16 last year from the Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka, Gujarat.
He has cycled from New Delhi to Jhunjhunu, a two-way trip of 600 km, followed by 785 km from New Delhi to Jaisalmer and 3,500 km from Kashmir to Kanyakumari from where he has picked up some Tamilian words.
The expedition gave him a good understanding of life challenges, given Choudhary has seen the devastation of the environment along with his family, on days braving the effects of climate change in Jhunjhunu.
Surrounded by sand dunes with no water source, he and his family had to collect rainwater and withstand temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celcius in summer and -5 degrees Celcius in winter.
Even the 202-hectare forest near his village, where he, his sister, and an Army-retired grandfather would go to exercise, has become a junkyard.
“I see that Singapore has taken early measures on sustainable development,” he said, being impressed by the clean and green environment in the city-state where special cycling pathways have been made for citizens.
His concern for India’s environment deepened four years ago when he was pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in literature at Delhi University. “Delhi was then very polluted.”
He then decided that he would go on solo cycling expeditions to encourage a car-lite society.
Choudhary elaborates on his Singapore experience, especially having had the opportunities to meet the Indian community leaders as well as visiting organisations such as Rotary Club, Siddh Peeth Shree Lakshminarayan Temple, Vivekanand Seva Sangh, Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, Bijhar Singapore and Bhojpuri Society Singapore.
He has shared his first expedition experience with students of local Indian schools. Back home, Choudhary is already working with Jhunjhunu Cycling Group which has a growing number of followers including girls.
Cycling expedition is a lifetime learning experience, he added.


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