Crossing continents on two wheels: USA Ahmadis bike from Aachen, Germany, to Alton, UK

Shukoor Ahmed, USA

Six members of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA joined the Germany cycling team for the first time for an extraordinary journey that took place from 24-27 July 2023. This expedition spanned from Aachen, Germany, to Hadeeqatul Mahdi in the UK, the location of the Jalsa Salana UK. There were a total of 40 cyclists, 33 of them from Germany, six from the United States, and one from the UAE.

After overcoming initial hurdles, including bike rentals, the team was able to make successful arrangements with prayer and persistence, securing bikes from a vendor in Hamburg.

The team formulated a plan involving cycling an average of 30 miles twice a week, with an extended ride on weekends. The captain played a pivotal role in executing and maintaining this disciplined regimen. Six bikers from the US practised regularly for over six months and tested their strength and stamina by riding 100 miles back to back on weekends to ensure they would be able to ride an average of 100 miles a day for four days continuously.

The team had several virtual meetings with Majlis-e-Sehat Germany’s cycling branch, for better preparation. They shared and monitored each other’s progress. USA members had conference calls to support and suggest tips to get to the required speed/mileage. It is noteworthy that three members from the USA were ranked among the top ten on the leaderboard for the training mileage of all cyclists before the event.

Led by Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Germany, Abdullah Wagishauser Sahib, the combined group, including nine missionaries and one doctor from Germany, covered an impressive distance of approximately 502 kilometres, or about 312 miles, over four days. Some cyclists initiated their journey from their places of residence, i.e., Hamburg, Groß-Gerau and Cologne, adding several more kilometres to the total. Their route crossed four countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the UK. The expedition was marked by challenges such as inclement weather, traffic, and fatigue, yet it was equally enriched by breathtaking vistas, camaraderie, and the hospitality of fellow Ahmadi Muslims who hosted us at various mosques.

The cyclists were driven by their profound love for Allah and His Messengersa, and their aspiration to partake in the Jalsa Salana in the presence of their spiritual leader, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa. Additionally, the team aimed to raise awareness about peace, justice, and humanitarian efforts that cater to global communities in need.

The cyclists reached Hadeeqatul Mahdi on 27 July 2023, where they were warmly welcomed by Rafiq Hayat Sahib, Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya UK, and fellow Ahmadi Muslims who celebrated their arrival with slogans. The reception was followed by a brief ceremony where each cyclist was individually recognised and congratulated. An evening banquet was thoughtfully organised for the guests.

The cyclists expressed profound gratitude to Allah for their safe and successful completion of the journey. The team extended its appreciation to hosts, supporters, and families for their unwavering hospitality, encouragement, and prayers. Overwhelmed by a sense of achievement and elation, we found it challenging to articulate our emotions. The experience instilled vital life lessons such as patience, perseverance, teamwork, and unwavering faith in Allah.

The cyclists hope their historic expedition will inspire others to follow suit, encouraging participation in noble causes. Their ultimate aim was to convey a positive message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to the world—a message of peace, love, service, and unity.

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