Bike for Peace Tour de Thailand

When you think about cycling, first thing in your mind might be Tour de France, the world’s most famous and difficult bicycle race that requires professional and physically rigor cyclists traveling through France and its nearby countries.
Well, here is another professional team biking with mission not to be the winner in glory championship but to promote Peace and Friendship around the world through a cycle wheel, Bike for Peace which is headed by a partially blind Norwegian Tore Naerland.

Bike for Peace, Messages to the World
Bike for Peace is an organization based in Norway that seeks to initiate and develop a grassroots concern for the local environment, as well as creating an international understanding across various regions, nations, languages and cultures of the world.
The organization was started in 1977 by Tore Naerland who is visually impaired since the age of 15. Such deformed condition has not prevented him from being an active fighter for peace and disarmament, for the rights of handicapped people and for protection of the environment.
Bike for Peace has organized peace and friendship rides in about 100 countries around the world. During its tour, Bike for Peace has met many well-known political, religious and cultural leaders such as the former General Secretary of the United Nations Boutros Boutros Ghali and Perez de Cuellar, Pope Johannes Paul II, and Mother Theresa.
“I would like to bike in Myanmar and visit Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the nonviolent movement for human rights and democracy, who is under detention in her own house by the military junta. She is a Nobel laureate in 1991, I am nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for many times as well,” Tore Naerland told ScandAsia during his stop en route in Pattaya about his next ambition.

Tour de Thailand, Tour of Lifes and Encouragement
On September 22, Bike for Peace started their one-week bike ride in Thailand from Bangkok to Rayong on the eastern coast of the country.
On the first day, the group of cyclists is comprised of 10 young at heart Norwegians whose ages are not the problem for adventure, three Thai staffs from the agency Bike & Travel, and also 50 people from local bicycle club joining the team, in addition to the cyclist leader Tore Naerland.
Along the way from Bangkok, Patumthani, Chachoengsao, Cholburi and final destination in Rayong, the team went to several local schools, orphanages and institutions for handicapped people to visit and encourage them for the positive and delighted views of life.
A regularly active member of Bike for Peace, 62 years old Harald Vik who is deaf and blind, showed handicapped children at Karunyawet Home how to bike on a tandem that he shares the bike ride along the road with his Norwegian fellow, Jvar Wigaard.
The children were on tandem, also playing and running around happily. All this is due to visitation and encouragement from the group of bikers, even though it was just short period of time, said Norwegian Jvar.
Tore smiled heartily and continued “Herald talked to them by touching them, some of them are deaf and blind as him, and some are handicap. The way they communicated with each other is very touched all of us,”
“I sang for them and encouraged them to study hard, be tough for life and always think positive that they have potential to reach their goal in life. They can have Herald as good example. I could see that he became their role model easily,”
I will tell the world how Thai handicap can better be treated and integrated in the society. They (officers) do it from the bottom of their heart, not just for earning money. This is the very important message from my days in Thailand that I would like to tell the world, said Tore.

Viking Wheelers Join the Route
Six Viking Wheelers joined Bike for Peace team from Chachoengsao to Cholburi route. The ride from Chachoengsao took the cycling group to the scenic country-roads pass lush green rice fields, local markets and agricultural villages.
“During the bike along the country-roads, we met an elephant. Thanks to the group of riders from the Cholburi Cycle Club that guided us to the local road. Thus we could take the fresh breath from the nature and see the local people real way of life,” said Hans Henrik Melchior, an active member of Viking Wheelers.
“The trip was absolutely fantastic” he continued “we were also impressed with the way the Norwegians cyclists, and particularly Tore and Harald bonded with disabled children at the Karunyawet Home for handicap,”
“By the way, do you know how Tore who is 95% blind can bike on the road?” Hans asked ScandAsia “Well, you should ask Tore himself”
The answer from Tore was normally he books a second seat on a tandem, however this time in Thailand he biked by himself on a normal bicycle with a Thai guide named Lek biking in front of him.
“At the very beginning, I thought I must be on a van for the most of the route but things didn’t turn that way,” said Tore and continued.
“Lek, wearing a yellow jersey, was biking in front of me. So I could see her 3-4 meters ahead. She also called out for holes on the road, warning me of traffic and any hindrances. She did a very good job!” Tore praised his Thai travel agency Bike & Travel.

Speech at the Sjomannskirken in Pattaya
Besides the visitation at the orphanages, Bike for Peace also stopped to visit the Sjomannskirken in Pattaya on Sunday 24 of September.
The night drew about 20 Norwegian expatriates in Pattaya to join the special event with speech from Tore Naerland about his mission and Bike for Peace.
The group of bikers and audiences were welcomed by a speech from the new Norwegian priest in Pattaya Lars Haugan, and cycling enthusiast Kristian Bo who opened the night with the welcome message and said how he get involved with the Bike for Peace Tour in Thailand and also how he appreciated on what Bike for Peace tries to promote and carry the massages all around the world.
Tore Naerland, man behind the wheel, told the audiences about background of Bike for Peace and his life on the wheel around the world in an energetic and humoristic manner. Tore also mentioned how he can be inspired and motivated by people whom he met along his life.
“I am mostly proud with people I have met. They gave me inspiration, and lot of encouragement. Yes, I do. I also learned from Thai people to be open-minded and smile. It’s a delightful of life,” Tore said.
Moreover, Herald Vik also told the audiences about his personal life and works for disabled people through his fellow translators.

More Bike Projects in SEA
Bike for Peace Campaign is supported by the United Nations many times. So next projects in Southeast Asia, it plans to bike in Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Burma, Vietnam and Thailand again.
“I will organized more bicycle in Thailand for Norwegian people to learn more about Thai culture and history. This project in Thailand, I want Thai people and Scandinavian people to bike with me and in other countries in the region like Laos, Cambodia as well.” said Tore.
“If anyone interested to bike with us, you can tell them to visit the official Bike for Peace website http://www.bikeforpeace.no/, there is a schedule and interesting bike program around the world, not only in Southeast Asia”

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