Gürkan Genç

Gürkan Genç embarked on a world journey from Turkey on September 9, 2012, employing ships or airplanes for continent and island crossings. For the remaining land masses, he exclusively travels by bicycle, documenting his experiences through writing, supported by photographs and videos. Since the inception of his world tour, he diligently tracks each day using a road computer on his bicycle, archiving his adventures in a digital format.

Born on January 15, 1979, in Ankara, to parents Şerafettin Genç and Ayşe Genç, who migrated from the Arhavi district of Artvin, Gürkan Genç’s brother, Gürhan Genç, was also born in Ankara. Gürkan completed his primary, secondary, and high school education at Ankara Yükseliş College, followed by his university education at the Faculty of Communication Radio-Television-Cinema with a full scholarship at Near East University.

His professional journey began with news montages in a television institution. He subsequently worked as a sales representative in various institutions and co-founded a company in the food sector with two friends. In February 2010, during the second year of their partnership, he transferred his company shares and commenced his international travels. Proficient in English and having intermediate skills in Spanish, Gürkan communicates through body language in countries where he is unfamiliar with the language. Additionally, he excels in various sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, snowboarding, mountain biking, long-distance running, water skiing, and cycling.

In January 2021, Turkey witnessed the publication of four series of children’s books titled “Man on the Iron Horse,” narrating Gürkan Genç’s travels. Published by Ephesus Publications, these books portray his journeys for both children and adults, establishing him as the sole fairy tale hero in his country.

March 2021 saw the re-establishment of his sole proprietorship, focusing on importing high-quality coffee from Colombia and South America. Subsequently, in September 2021, he enrolled in his second university, pursuing studies in Political Science and International Relations.

Since 2012, the Young Explorers travel scholarship for university students has been fostering exploration and adventure.

“Pedal for Nature,” took place between April 2010 and March 2011. Commencing his journey in Samsun, Turkey, he traversed the Central and Eastern Black Sea regions, completing his tour through Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Mongolia, South Korea, and Japan, covering a total distance of 12,500 km in Asia.

Gürkan Genç, the pioneering Turkish cyclist, has achieved remarkable feats during his ongoing world tour, which commenced on September 9, 2012. As the first Turk to cycle through the Turkic states of Central Asia, the entirety of North Asia, the Silk Road, the Kara-Gum Desert in Turkmenistan, the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan, he conquered challenging terrains with a total ascent of 32,500 meters, including the Pamir Pass at an altitude of 4,650 meters.

From 2011 to 2012, Gürkan generously shared his experiences with 25,000 individuals across 38 universities, 48 primary schools, and 30 private and public institutions in Turkey. He showcased his journey through four photography exhibitions and crafted two short films, both of which were submitted to festivals. Notably, the bicycle he used during his Japan tour is exhibited at the Koç Museum in Ankara, while the Turkish flag that flew on the back of the bicycle is on display at the Kushimoto Museum in Japan.

Under the “Pedal for the Future” project, supported by his dream partners and followers, Gürkan set out on a world tour to traverse 7 continents and 87 countries, starting on September 9, 2012. Throughout his journey, he navigates the highest vehicle crossing points on five continents and pedals through the largest deserts. Gürkan braves extreme conditions, crossing deserts during scorching periods and polar circles in the coldest periods. His commitment extends to sharing his experiences with students and young people in the educational institutions of the countries he visits, delivering presentations, and continuing to engage with educational institutions in Turkey through the internet.

As of September 9, 2012, Gürkan has covered a staggering 98,000 kilometers, passing through numerous countries across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. Notably, he faced visa challenges, necessitating his return to Turkey in January 2023 to obtain a U.S. visa. After spending the year with family and friends, he resumed his journey on December 30, 2023.

Gürkan’s journey includes remarkable milestones,

Such as pedaling through Ukraine, Russia, Finland, and Sweden in January and February 2013, facing temperatures as low as -57°C.

He braved the scorching Sahara Desert at 61°C in July and August 2014

The Arabian Desert at 59°C in July and August 2015.

In October 2015, he crossed the equator line in Kenya, and in April 2016, he completed a full lap around the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.

Gürkan’s incredible journey continued through various terrains, from the winter in South America’s Patagonian region and the Patagonian Desert in June, July, and August 2017, to pedaling at high altitudes in the Atacama Desert of Chile in the summer of 2019. In December 2019, he crossed the equator line for the second time in Ecuador.

He is one of the extraordinary tour cyclists who managed to reach the Arctic circle in Finland in February 2013 on her “world tour” trip and cross the summer by bicycle.

During his ongoing world tour, which commenced on September 9th, 2012, Gürkan Genc covered extensive ground across various continents. His journey includes:

Europe Leg:

Türkiye, Grecee, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, England, Spain.

North Africa and Middle East Leg:

Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa.

South America Leg:

Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Having covered a remarkable distance of 122,000 km on his bike, Gürkan is currently riding through South America. He took a break in Guatemala in December 2022 due to the absence of a United States visa after 11 years on the road. Presently, equipped with visas for the United States, Canada, Australia, and Schengen countries, he is set to resume his journey on December 30, 2023.

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