Man Bikes Around the World With $2 in Pocket

If you think riding the stationary bike at the gym is exhausting, imagine riding your bike 28,000 miles through 37 countries in eight years. Tired yet?

Keiichi-Iwasaki_1478704c.jpgKeiichi “Kei” Iwasaki , 36, of Japan began such an adventure when he grew tired of working at his father’s air-conditioning company. ”I thought to myself that ‘My life will soon be over before I do what I want to do!’ so I decided to start this trip,” Iwasaki told the London Telegraph.

Iwasaki left his home in Maebashi, Japan in April 2001 with just 160 yen, around $2, in his pocket with the intention of biking through Japan. He enjoyed the trip so much that he caught a ferry to South Korea. He has since been robbed by pirates and arrested in India, nearly died after being attacked by a rabid dog in Tibet, and narrowly escaped marriage in Nepal.

route-map_1478802i.jpgIwasaki’s bikes (he’s on his fifth now; two were stolen and two were broken) have been his main form of transportation throughout the journey. He says he does not want to fly because “I wanted to see and feel everything with my own skin. With bicycle, I can always feel the air and atmosphere of the place.”  

According to his blog, other than the occasional ferry, the only time he did not ride his bike or walk was when he used a hand rowboat. He first used a rowboat to travel from the source of the Ganges River in India to the sea, a distance of over 800 miles that took him 35 days. Iwasaki decided to also row the Caspian Sea when he was passing by and “I just wondered ‘how big Caspian sea is?’ so I tried to [cross] using hand rowing boat again, it takes 25 days,” he wrote.

He counts his biggest achievement as climbing Mount Everest from sea level without using any transportation, the first Japanese man to do so. Iwasaki is currently in Switzerland waiting to climb Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc.

Iwasaki funds his travels by performing magic tricks on the street. He plans to travel to Africa, through the Americas and finally, back to Japan. He believes the rest of the trip will take him five years, after which he wants to write a book about his adventures.

Photo: Above, via SMNS, Map, via The London Telegraph

Comments

  1. Coulter
    Philadelphia
    May 18, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Augh, I hate this. He only got as far as he did because he’s a very skilled magician. I have absolutely no talents with which to do street performing, ergo- I can’t really do this.

  2. James N
    Minnesota
    April 17, 2014, 1:05 am

    I love bikes this dude is rad!!!

  3. James
    Chicago
    February 20, 2014, 7:48 pm

    Wow, I’m kinda taking this as a sign… I’ve been thinking about this for years, and really seriously over the past few days… though I’m not really looking to climb mountains, just bike everywhere.

  4. Paulin
    NYC
    February 7, 2013, 1:22 am

    This is the most incredible thing I’ve come across in a long time. I sure hope he makes it and I can’t wait for his book to come out :)

  5. Dean Knight
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    September 26, 2012, 1:40 pm

    This requires a lot of guts! I imagine he would have had to travel some treacherous roads and tarmac along his travels.

  6. Expedition in Nepal
    Jyatha Kathmandu
    September 23, 2012, 3:24 am

    That is a quite amazing achievement..Whole lots of courage and guts requires for such achievements..
    http://asianexpedition.com/

  7. Nepal
    Kathmandu, Nepal
    September 16, 2012, 12:34 am

    That’s incredible. I think the only reason I would do what he did is to play golf around the world

  8. Neer Khatri
    http://hikingtoursnepal.com/
    September 10, 2012, 7:52 am

    This is amazing!!! I love riding my Villy Customs cruiser everywhere, BUT this is amazing!

  9. Nepal Epxeditions
    Kathmandu Nepal
    July 24, 2012, 4:14 am

    This man has some serious stamina..well done

  10. Andre3000
    Pretoria
    June 8, 2012, 11:10 am

    I meet him in South Africa applying for a visa to Namibia..he is strong..wow!

  11. Nepal trek
    kathmandu
    December 19, 2011, 2:32 am

    in this time world is getting crises of money. so that idea is perfect. best of luck

  12. China Fact Tours
    July 20, 2011, 4:18 am

    Hope I can do that some day.

  13. adelaidasofia
    Dallas
    July 16, 2011, 11:01 pm

    This is amazing!!! I love riding my Villy Customs cruiser everywhere, BUT this is amazing! I think I would DIEEE if I tried this haha. So proud!

  14. jeff
    February 19, 2011, 3:39 pm

    If you look at the maps on Keiichi Iwasaki’s own site, this article is off for a few reasons. The map showing his crossing of the Caspian is very misleading. He closely hugged the southern coast, presumably making landfalls, and resumed his journey by cycle.
    Acne Web Tips

  15. freeonlinebusiness
    February 11, 2011, 7:46 am

    this is an eye opener and a good piece of information.keep it up.

  16. Kenji
    February 5, 2011, 10:47 pm

    Wow such an inspiration to all of us… you must always follow your dreams no matter what. Also visit Directory

  17. Carmen
    January 30, 2011, 12:52 am

    Keiichi is an inspiration! I could not do it. How many could? His blog hasn’t been updated since June 2009 when he was in Andorra. Hope he is alive and well. Does anyone know where Keiichi is now?

  18. Andrei Nicolau
    December 26, 2010, 6:39 am

    This is truly interesting. Though in Europe now there are new destinations and Romania is definitely one of them.
    Have a look at this:
    http://www.tours-of-romania.com
    and especially at the wonderful Romanian Rhapsody Tour, probably the best tour of Romania in eleven days with lots of cultural connections.
    Have fun !

  19. Ash
    December 3, 2010, 8:07 pm

    This is amazing. The kind of trip I have dreamed about but never been game enough to actually start.
    Looks like I have someone I can live my life vicariously through now :P

  20. Andy T
    August 27, 2010, 9:30 am

    Where is he now?

  21. Danny
    August 17, 2010, 11:06 am

    I salute you for having the courage to cycle round the world. You must be in excellent health when you started this? I really want to follow your footsteps.
    Learn how to gain weight.

  22. venkatesh
    July 3, 2010, 5:15 am

    that’s great. iam want to start this type of program…

  23. Joanna
    June 16, 2010, 3:58 pm

    Have just seen him performing his tricks in Valletta, Malta. The tricks were amazing as well as the cycling – had to come home and look him up on the internet. Will definately watch out for his book.

  24. CB
    March 7, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Well I have $2, so I guess there’s nothing stopping me trying myself!!

  25. Dustin
    February 20, 2010, 9:56 pm

    I would buy the book, sounds amazing

  26. Everest expedition
    February 1, 2010, 7:50 pm

    Mr. Iwasaki is great person. he is travelling with cheap way but many country. he is giving good suggestion saving the environment. best of luck Mr. Iwasaki

  27. Chitwan national park
    February 1, 2010, 3:11 am

    great idea. i like it very much

  28. Coach Hire
    January 13, 2010, 6:09 am

    I have been reading this post for a bit long and have/had nothing to share until now, I am not going to come up with so many sentences like above, but would say, than just being so arrogant, we should respect him and wish him luck with his travel and tour, too less this is seen.
    I understand this is both risky having nothing in your pockets, and great were those helped him till to date!
    Thank you Sarah for the article though.
    Regards

  29. Jim Jones
    December 29, 2009, 4:29 am

    That is one amazing trip. I tour Thailand a lot and would love to do it some day on a bike, preferably a motorbike. Well done.

  30. conhis
    December 23, 2009, 6:21 pm

    Wow!! this is crazy! I saw this guy doing magic in Sarajevo three years ago!! I never thought he was biking across the world.

  31. putude
    December 20, 2009, 11:17 am

    Unbelievable ! how come in USD 2 go around the world ? How about the ship ? free ? I things it was not. But.. awesome!

  32. Jack
    December 17, 2009, 3:06 pm

    I wish I was this guy.
    Cheers.

  33. Patrick Fay
    November 22, 2009, 4:30 pm

    This man deserves some cold beer.

  34. japanese words
    November 16, 2009, 3:43 am

    very, very impressive. Just think how much he has saved in airfare.

  35. Sophia
    November 14, 2009, 6:10 am

    I saw him in Zurich, Switzerland. He did some impressive magic tricks, so I gave him some money, I’m so happy I found him here, very inspiring.

  36. Liverpool
    November 12, 2009, 3:18 am

    Traveling around the world with little money as that is just impressive. From what i read, you have acquired a great experience. Continue to do such stuffs. Meeting different cultures and seeing the great wonders of this world can only be beneficial to somebody….

  37. aviva
    November 8, 2009, 8:42 pm

    WOW!!! he stayed at my house in spain. i met him in december 2008 in sevilla doing magic on the street and 6 weeks later he called me and spent 3 nights at my house with his girlfriend, who he met in Budapest..what a coincidence!!!
    they were wonderful to host and infinitely better to listen to their stories and see the collections of newspaper articles he had from all over the world.

  38. Digi
    November 3, 2009, 5:54 pm

    Indie said:
    It’s a nice and consultative article. Things are configured fit. Get to know couple of abstraction which were unknown to me. It’s real one of the most reformatory article I ever show. Thanks for to share looking more from you. I bookmarked this article as compartment for to get service from it in next.
    I say:
    WTF?

  39. Arielle
    October 29, 2009, 10:58 pm

    Reminds me of a modern day Ibn Batutta!

  40. Olivia
    October 28, 2009, 12:19 pm

    It’s fascinating that for some people moving is as essential as eating or breathing. Or is it love for freedom and constant change?

  41. j.a.
    October 24, 2009, 5:40 pm

    If you look at the maps on Keiichi Iwasaki’s own site, this article is off for a few reasons. The map showing his crossing of the Caspian is very misleading. He closely hugged the southern coast, presumably making landfalls, and resumed his journey by cycle.
    http://www.feel-the-earth.com/map/06map.html
    Also, his journey by boat down the Ganges started in Varanasi (Benares),which is most definitely not the source of the Ganges.
    http://www.feel-the-earth.com/map/06map.html
    I am VERY inspired by this good-man’s epic journey. I am disappointed in Nat. Geo.’s lack of fact checking and blatantly inaccurate mapping.
    Come on National Geographic…some people trust you. At least get the map right.

  42. Robert
    October 23, 2009, 8:23 am

    Wow! Pirates, marriage, 5 bikes, this is inspiring!

  43. William Wallace
    October 20, 2009, 4:13 pm

    That guy must be the worlds biggest cheapskate, I hate everyting that he stands for….!

  44. Shayne
    October 20, 2009, 12:47 pm

    Boring…..Do something original, this has been done a million times. I am crossing the Atlantic using only flippers and snorkel and surviving off seaweed and rainwater (and scavenged fish parts) that I collect in my mask, and I sleep on a blow up sheep (also serves as companion and lover…it’s a long trip) that I inflate every night. I am currently about 40 miles off Key West and am happy to report that I found a large package floating that contained a whitish powder that is not very tasty ( thought it was sugar) but makes me feel like superman when I smell it repeatedly..I actually filled my mask with it so I inhale all day..My heart feels like it will beat out of my chest soon,,just pounding and I’m stroking my flippers to it;s beat, and that sheep better watch out tonight cause I feel like an animal..ROAR…Follow my blog at Flipping_off_the_atlantic.com!!

  45. Tina
    October 7, 2009, 10:24 am

    wow, this is simply incredible!!

  46. Indie
    September 23, 2009, 2:56 pm

    It’s a nice and consultative article. Things are configured fit. Get to know couple of abstraction which were unknown to me. It’s real one of the most reformatory article I ever show. Thanks for to share looking more from you. I bookmarked this article as compartment for to get service from it in next.

  47. Apoorva
    September 22, 2009, 11:02 pm

    Glad you put this story up here! Reminds me of Into the Wild and the Motorcycle Diaries. Someday I will be doing the same on a better vehicle. It will be more awesome and some intern under you would be blogging about it :)

  48. Mycaddy
    September 19, 2009, 12:34 pm

    Ohmygosh! That’s incredible. I think the only reason I would do what he did is to play golf around the world :D. He’s the man!

  49. nick
    September 18, 2009, 9:41 pm

    This man is my hero! This is my dream

  50. sarah
    September 18, 2009, 9:11 pm

    awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Vivian
    September 18, 2009, 8:48 pm

    Woah! This is so cool!! You go, dude~~!