End in sight for Dubai man on 4,500km cycling mission

Posted: January 10, 2014 by kirisyko in Bike, Endurance cycling, Road cycling
Tags: ,

Dubai: A Dubai man who has cycled roughly 4,200km across the Gulf nations in support of children with special needs expects to finish his journey on Friday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Jalal Bin Thaneya has been cycling for about 26 days to raise awareness about the Dubai-based Al Jalila Foundation.

The 27-year-old UAE national is raising awareness about the Foundation’s Ta’alouf (Harmony) course, which teaches parents about caring for children with special needs.

He set off from Muscat in Oman in December 2013 and cycled across the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.Jalal Bin

The ordeal’s last leg is taking him from the Saudi capital Riyadh to the port city of Jeddah, with around 350km left to cover.

“In my mind, I’m already in Jeddah but my body doesn’t want to go on anymore,” Bin Thaneya told Gulf News over the phone on Thursday.

Bin Thaneya has previously undertaken extreme challenges for causes.

He has walked 2,000km from Abu Dhabi to Makkah, covered all seven emirates on foot, climbed the stairs of 100 Dubai skyscrapers and walked the desolate Empty Quarter desert.

“As long as I can raise awareness about children with special needs, social causes, I’ll keep doing things like this. I may do something new in a year or two.”

Bin Thaneya said he has had little food to go on — some hardened bread mostly, dates and fruits occasionally.

He said: “My appetite’s big but my stomach has shrunk. I can’t stop and eat all the time, I have to finish this.”

According to Bin Thaneya, nobody has cycled across the six Gulf countries before.

“It’s a dangerous, difficult trip. The police stop you, the people stop you. ‘What are you doing, who are you, why is your bicycle so light?’ they want to know,” he said.

A few days ago, Bin Thaneya added, a motorist tried to run him over but he jumped out of the way. He has also been held by law enforcement agents at times until they are convinced his paperwork is in order.

And the weather has not always been on his side either. Bin Thaneya has braved both cold nights and hot days during his expedition through remote desert terrain, with occasional downpours and rising roads making it “painful” to push on.

“I get cramps, sores. I have to deal with so many different police and paramilitary forces. I can’t function,” he said.

“But a lot of good people have helped me also. Sometimes I get a police escort, sometimes people give me hospitality.

“I also see people from Dubai and other places post on [photo sharing site] Instagram or Twitter. That feels good.”

Bin Thaneya is not alone, being trailed by a navigator in a four-wheel drive. A spotter in the vehicle had quit, Bin Thaneya said, and returned to the UAE not long after the challenge started.

Bin Thaneya tries to update family and well-wishers when he can. He is also blogging on gulfnews.com, sending in pictures and snippets of his experiences.

Bin Thaneya said he is sometimes received officially by UAE diplomats in the countries he is passing.

“I hope the UAE mission receives me in Jeddah, or they might just ignore me, I can’t say.

“People have to support one another — that’s good for society.”

See more:http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/end-in-sight-for-dubai-man-on-4-500km-cycling-mission-1.1275720

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s