German engineer shifts gears with ‘awesome’ Mideast cycling tour

Fri, 2022-01-14 20:10

RIYADH: A German engineer has left the grind of his job back home to travel through the Middle East by bicycle, taking in the sights of AlUla, Najran and other Saudi sites along the way.

Luca Holzhauser, an engineer and photographer from Ulm, Germany, decided to leave his day-to-day life as a Bosch employee to catch the cool Middle Eastern winter weather.

He has cycled across the Middle East for more than six months, and recently arrived in the Kingdom. “One thing that I love about Saudi is the excitement of the people when they see me cycling,” Holzhauser told Arab News.

He said that he chose to come to the Middle East because of its warm winter weather compared to other Northern Hemisphere regions.

“I’ve heard really interesting things about the Middle East. Of course, in the Western media, it’s not always portrayed the best, but I simply wanted to see with my own eyes how it is. And yeah — I really, really like it,” he added.

Holzhauser said that he finds the mentality, culture and landscapes of the Middle East exciting. “So I chose this place just to see it on my own and how it actually is traveling through there, and obviously by bicycle.

“It’s awesome because you’re outside all day. You do sports and you are very close to the people, so you meet a lot of them, and that’s what’s really driving me to do this journey — to meet the people.”

One of the highlights of Holzhauser’s trip so far was his time in Jordan. By chance, he met a group of people who were shooting a promotional video to advertise the Jordan National Trail. “Since I’m a photographer, I joined the team and had a week to see all the highlights and pictures of the models,” he said.

He added that his travels had led him to work casually as a yoga instructor, teacher and diving model. “So these random invitations that just happened along the way are just the best part of it,” he said.

Holzhauser “lives to travel by bicycle” because it lets him gets close to the public in the countries he is visiting. “Every day I meet a lot of new people and a lot of beautiful, random things happen. So every day is kind of different, and that makes it very memorable,” he added.

“It also gives great future opportunities. As a photographer, I enjoy having different scenes every day, meeting different people every day and taking pictures of them. And then, of course, it’s nice to be outside in nature doing sports while getting around. So yeah, that’s why I chose to travel by bicycle,” Holzhauser said.

He added that during his tour in Saudi Arabia, cars were always pulling over after seeing him “cycling in the middle of nowhere.” Once he got talking to the drivers, fun and friendly conversation flowed, and he was regularly offered help and advice.

During his time in the Kingdom, Holzhauser has traveled through Riyadh, AlUla, Habala, Najran and Abha.

Luca Holzhauser from Germany on a bicycle touring trip traveling for half a year in the Middle East. (Supplied)
Luca Holzhauser from Germany on a bicycle touring trip traveling for half a year in the Middle East. (Supplied)
Luca has been to Riyadh, AlUla, Habala, Najran and Abha during his bicycle plight through Saudi Arabia thus far. (Supplied)
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