Monday, February 27, 2012

The Greatest Traveler I Have Ever Met

by Regin Reyno

As a traveler and not just a sightseer or tourist, I am always amazed by travelers who do extraordinary journeys. That includes the distance traveled, the mode of transportation, the attitude, how adventurous the travel was, and the extraordinary experiences. 
Tim Cope
photo credit:
One of the travelers that I admire, and consider him to be the greatest traveler and adventurer of this modern time is Tim Cope, an Australian who traveled from Mongolia to Hungary on a horse. That is approximately 10,000 km. over cold mountains, vast steppe, across different tribes.  He followed the trail of the great Mongol leader Genghis Khan. That’s why the title of the documentary that I have seen is “On the Trails of Genghis Khan”. 

Travelers like that one amazes me. I consider them superior travelers. I cut above the rest.
On a normal Sunday afternoon last February 12, 2012, I didn’t expect that I will meet one. One the few breeds of travelers who do extraordinary feats therefore has extraordinary experiences.

As I was walking on the street near my apartment taking photos of anything (street photography) I saw an unusual bicycle. It streaked past me at about 30 km/hr. It was my first time to see that kind of bicycle. It's so low that the man who pedaled it is almost lying already. I was curious and I wanted to take a photo of it. I thought it was just an expat doing his usual exercise. Then it stopped at about 10m to where I was standing and ask something to the locals. I immediately run towards him hoping to take a photo of the bike. Like a NatGeo photographer on a mission.
Amazed passersby just like me
After talking to the locals, he headed on to a nearby street. I followed him. I noticed the bags at the back of his bike and from then on, I knew he is a traveler. He went to a hotel near my apartment. I immediately spoke to him while he made transactions at the hotel lobby. I ask permission to take photos of his bike, in which he agreed.
Dr. Heise's recumbent bicycle with all his bags
I then realized that it's not a bike but a tricycle as it has 3 wheels. Only now did I known through research that that bike is called a recumbent bike or bicycle.

While talking to him I ask him where he came from because he is checking-in in a hotel. He answered, "from Saigon". I was like, "what"?!, on that bicycle?!". I remembered our land trip from Bangkok to Saigon last May 2011, and man, that is very far. 900 km. to be exact.

He said he has traveled a lot on that bicycle. From Ulan Bator, Mongolia to Beijing, China to Hanoi, Vietnam. Germany-Russia, Russia-Kazakhstan. He said he's been doing it since 1988. And through his accent, I immediately knew that he is German. 

Dr. Arend Heise's route when I met him. He will still proceed to Jakarta, Indonesia before flying back to Germany
Meet Dr. Arend Heise who cycled from Saigon, Vietnam at this time

The great traveler with the author
I was really amazed. Based on his looks, he is in his mid-50's already, yet still strong to cycle all the way from Vietnam. He will just stay here in Bangkok for a night because that following day, he will continue his journey. He'll go to Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia and then end up in Jakarta, Indonesia before flying back to Germany.

I did a quick interview and these are what I've found out. His name is Dr. Arend Heise, he is a medical doctor. He has been doing that since 1988 as a hobby, cycling all over the world. He even did an Alaska-New York trip. His longest trip was from Moscow, Russia-Almaty, Kazakhstan. That's approximately 4,000 km. Can you imagine? 4,00km. of pedaling alone. To give you an idea of how far that is, consider this. From Isabela, Luzon-South Cotabato, Mindanao Philippines is 1,700 km. A great feat indeed.

He told me that traveling and cycling are his hobbies that's why he is doing that. I ask him, "Aren't you afraid?, you're cycling all over the world alone on that tricycle?" He answered, " I'm not afraid or else I wouldn't do this. But I'm cautious and sensible in my trips".
The author trying the recumbent bike
I also told him that I also wanted to do that because its one of my dreams. He told me "you should do it now. Because if you don't do it now, you can never do it. Do it while you are still young". That's one of the greatest advice I have ever heard form a fellow traveler. "Do it now".

That meeting with Dr. Heise inspired me a lot. It showed me that you must conquer your fears if you want to have valuable experiences in your travel. It inspired me to face the unknown, to do what you like to do. It challenged me to do more road trips than flying. It inspired me to release the adventurous yet sensible spirit in me.

After exchanging email addresses, I bade goodbye as he is now going to rest. A much needed rest for his pedaling spree the next day. Indeed he is the greatest traveler that I have met so far.

Dr. Arend Heise's longest travel on his recumbent bicycle. Approximately 4,000 km. of cycling alone.

Cycling the world alone.

Some Links Regarding Dr. Arend Heise

A German Website

Forest Finance


  1. awesome!!! I hope can do that also , but with a 4x4 HUMMER truck...

  2. Regin what has caught my attention to your meeting with this guy is his DETERMINATION of pursuing his dream in spite of his age and his career -- being a medical doctor. A non-motorized trike, not even a bike which am sure is supposed to be much faster, is used. WOW! Did he not have any difficulty of crossing the boarders? I suspect he got a safety travel conduct pass from the UN to allow him in and out of any country. I'm thinking of doing an adventurer/missionary work having the same mode of travel -- a CROSS-CULTURAL/CROSS-BOUNDARIES kind of thing! What do you think?!!!!

    1. That is a great idea. I asked him if he had difficulty. He told me most immigration officers are kind to him they let him use the highway. He used a recumbent bike which is more kind to the backbone according to the medical world, thus more efficient for long distance travel, not to mention, more loads it can carry.

  3. OMG. that person is really one great of a traveler. passion? you cannot deny it.

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