Cyclist peddles global environmental message

This year we saw the uprisings in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring and these last few weeks we’re seeing Occupy Wall Street, a series of demonstrations that began in New York and have spread.  It is a sign that there is an urgency to get the message out: people are frustrated by municipal and government corruption and corporate greed.

But a few months ago I met a man who also had an urgent message: keep the environment clean. There was no loud protest, no angry demonstration. Just Avijit Chakraborty, who is cycling his way around the world to raise awareness about conservation.  Last I heard, he was in Kansas (the above photo is from the Shawnee Dispatch).  Here’s a part of his story (April, 2011, Daily News).

CANOGA PARK – He has pedaled across the high, icy roads of the Alps, through the blistering heat of the world’s most desolate deserts, and down the windy avenues of New York City.

For Avijit Chakraborty, who has cycled 30,380 miles through 46 countries, the rough weather, tough terrain and limited food and rest are but small sacrifices.

He is crossing the world he says, to peddle a global message: Let’s keep the earth clean.

“I am raising awareness for the environment,” said Chakraborty, of India, who stopped to rest at the Valley Sikh Temple in Canoga Park Thursday after a long ride down to the San Fernando Valley from Bakersfield.

“I also want to break the world record.”

Chakraborty, who is originally from Kolkata, began his journey on Nov. 26, 2009, in India, and plans to finish his journey in Argentina in July.

His goal is to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records by bicycling through 61 countries on five continents in 19 months and 20 days.

John Hathaway of Canada holds the current Guinness record for traveling 39,680 miles (64,000 kilometers) around the world by bicycle over 23 months in 1974.

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