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“Come to Poland, your bike is here already!”. The story of one Indian and one lost bike.

May 21, 2011

The title is an old German joke, from the early 90-ties, or maybe even 80-ties, when Poland was particularly (in)famous for overdosing our national treasure (meaning vodka) and stealing cars. Now – neither of these bad habits are that prominent, but they’re still not replenished completely.

Somen Debnath – obviously a Bong (only Bong do such crazy things) – has been touring on his bicycle for seven years now, visiting over 60 countries and doing 80 000 kilometers with a mission to spread awareness about HIV and promote culture of West Bengal. Well – at least he says so, although I have also been planning a world tour and I know a good PR crap is necessary in that case. The goal is to travel. But that’s unrelated.

So… after all this impressive effort and dozens of adventures including being captured by Talibans, Mr. Debnath.. got his bike stolen in our lovely capital.

Sad, but well this can happen everywhere (including India) and there’s thousand of bikes getting stolen on a daily basis. That’s not what’s interesting about it..

Interesting is the reaction.

Poles did, what we do best – a big, national, spontaneous “Action”.  Yep, we’re really good in cracking big social actions, if only the topic is idealistic enough and if the national pride is involved… big things happen (you may want to check Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity – one of the biggest charity events in the world).

Somen was a CouchSurfer and the bike has been stolen from the staircase of his CS host, who immidiately took action to help his guest find the bike. The results were outstaning. Just few hours later a Facebook event he created had few hundreds of participants willing to help and by the end of the action – the numbers crossed 4000! People and companies started offering the financial help to the traveller, as well as bike parts and whole  bikes- both second hand as new ones. All, so that he could continue his journey. By the end of day 3 Somen had a new dilemma: which bike to choose??

In the meantime – he and his mission have been covered by most of national media, giving him attention he would probably never get otherwise and hence – helping his message to get through to people.

The funnies thing is – that finally, even Police had even cought the thefts. Thing that in case of smaller crimes, barerly ever really happens.

Wonder now, what is the impression he’ll take out of Poland on his way to the remaining 131 countries he’s planning to visit before 2020?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine permalink
    June 2, 2011 5:35 pm

    This is fantastic! I love your blog – better than a tour guide.

  2. Natalia permalink
    June 5, 2011 3:07 pm

    Yeah, we’re so helpful… when the case gets to media ;]

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