Cyclist 'felt climate change in his body' on 8,800km ride from Germany to Cop28

Remarkable solo expedition across 13 countries to raise climate awareness

Michael Evertz, from Germany, cycled to the UAE for Cop28 in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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A German cyclist completed an epic 8,862-kilometre journey from his home country to the UAE, just in time for Cop28 in Dubai.

Michael Evertz, 64, said the goal of the 222-day cycle was to spread awareness about environmental sustainability for a better future.

Having started in Berlin on Earth Day, April 22, he travelled through Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Albania, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia before ending his trip in Dubai for the start of the climate conference.

“I love nature and wanted to do something for our planet," Mr Evertz told The National.

This journey is a mission to highlight the urgency of addressing environmental issues
Michael Evertz, cyclist

"I had to do something in my life, so I decided to start an expedition of hope by bicycle.

“Cyclists are always very close to the local people and it is a good way to talk to them and spread awareness about the environment during the journey.

“I felt climate change in my body in Greece and Turkey in July and August. We should do something to stop the rise of temperatures."

Recalling some of the trip's highlights, Mr Evertz picked out how he took a cargo boat to Lebanon with a plan to cross into Syria and Jordan, while also praising the reception he received in Saudi Arabia.

“I had an interesting situation in Lebanon with 95 truck drivers and one cyclist on the road. They were cheering for me,” he said.

“Everybody loves my project. People's kindness is unbelievable.

"I was invited by firefighters in Lebanon to spend the night. And the people in Saudi Arabia were very generous."

Mr Evertz emphasised how his journey gave him first-hand experience of the various environmental challenges each region faces.

“I pedalled my way through diverse landscapes from picturesque European cities to arid terrains and bustling urban centres, all the way to the host city of Cop28, Dubai," he said.

"This journey is a mission to highlight the urgency of addressing environmental issues on a global scale.

"Despite all the obstacles, my determination and passion for the cause kept me pedalling forward with a hope to inspire many along the way.”

Mr Evertz, a sustainability researcher and critical economist, is a passionate cyclist who set his mind to cross borders while spreading his message.

"We all have a role to play in preserving our planet for future generations," he added.

"Every action, no matter how small, contributes to the larger goal of creating a sustainable and resilient world."

Mr Evertz will leave Cop28 at the end of the event and cycle to Cairo to continue his journey through 17 more countries.

He concluded: “I will cycle to Egypt and will cross Africa from north to south, to the Cape of Good Hope, as part of my journey.

"I will be crossing 19,000 kilometres."

Updated: December 06, 2023, 4:53 AM