First Romanian to cycle Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego completes epic journey

Radu Paltineanu is the first Romanian to have cycled the Americas north to south from Alaska (US) to Tierra del Fuego - Argentine, in a more than 34,500 km journey that started on August 5, 2015 and saw him reach the finish in Ushuaia, at the 'End of the World' on the evening of October 22, 2018, after 3 years, 2 months and 17 days.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I did it! Today, at 21:51 hrs (3:51 Romania time), I arrived in Ushuaia, the end of my American expedition, thus linking the extreme points of the Americas on a bicycle. More precisely, Deadhorse in northern Alaska, and Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, the world's southernmost city, in the first Romanian adventure of this kind. I wrap up this expedition with 34,554 km of pedaling and another 4,100 km travelled by boat along the Amazon River, in a trip that has taken me through all the countries and continental territories of North and South America: Alaska (US) - Canada - the US - Mexico - Guatemala - Belize - El Salvador - Honduras - Nicaragua - Costa Rica - Panama - Colombia - Venezuela - Brazil - Guyana - Suriname - French Guiana (France) - Peru - Ecuador - Bolivia - Argentina - Paraguay - Uruguay and Chile," Radu Paltineanu wrote on his Facebook page for the followers of his two-wheel adventure.

A software engineer with studies in Canada, where he emigrated as a child together with his family from Piatra-Neamt, Radu Paltineanu set off on August 5, 2015 in Deadhorse, in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, at the Arctic Ocean, engaging on the so-called Panamerican highway, the world's longest motorable road. He reached the Chihuahuan Desert, scaled North America's tallest volcano, the 5,636m-high Orizaba, crossed the jungle in southern Mexico and Guatemala, traveled past the Central American Volcanic Chain, and struggled with the infernal tropical heat.

"From Colombia, I headed eastwards, beginning to zig-zag across the entire South American continent. I encountered the Gran Savannah and the Angel Falls in Venezuela, Guyana's rainforest, Amazonia, reached the summit farthest from the Earth's center, the Whymper Peak (6,268 m) in Ecuador's Chimborazo massif, then the Peruvian coastal desert, the Andean altiplano, where the road sometimes took me at over 4,500 m altitude, the infernal heat in northern Argentina and Paraguay, and finally the endless steppe of Patagonia. I can say hand on heart: wow, what an amazing journey!" Radu Paltineanu wrote.

At first, he had a different plan, as he intended to cross the Americas strictly north to south, traveling a 24,000-km route through 14 countries on a journey that was supposed to last around nine months, but he changed his plan subsequently, so as to reach all the continental countries of the Americas.

"Apart from the places I've been through, this adventure also had a profound cultural and human impact on me, as it was only made possible by the support offered by the many people who opened their hearts and homes, giving me hospitality and help," Radu Paltineanu wrote for the tens of thousands of followers who tracked him on the social networks along his adventure.

The 29-year old left Alaska with some 1,400 Canadian dollars in his pocket and a flag signed by several Romanian sports personalities - Gabriela Szabo, Ivan Patzaichin, Ilie Nastase, Leonard Doroftei, Lucian Bute, Constantin Lacatusu, Alex Gavan. At the end of the expedition, Radu thanked all those who made donations for him to complete his adventure.

"Other continents and adventures will follow, yet not before I return home to Romania for an indefinite period, to document this journey in a book and documentary, because, I think, this adventure deserves to be shared," Radu said.

Statistics aside, Radu Paltineanu says that to him, the #CycleTheAmericas expedition signifies following his passion and dream and a way to find himself, to break down personal barriers, overcome prejudices, fear, selfishness. The young man has chosen to live a multitude of experiences in some of the world's wildest areas of unutterable beauty, and in countries displaying an incredible array of cultural diversity, rather than working for some of the IT giants, as his college colleagues have preferred.

"I don't think I would have had the same happy life I am leading now, as I carry all my belongings in four bags and I'm happy because I can see the world. Some treasure possessions, I for myself attach more weight to experiences and seeing the world in this way. These are personal choices that everyone has to make," the young man told AGERPRES one year ago.

The journey has seen him spend the nights in all possible places, from tent to hotel, barns, a police cell, fire stations or post offices and churches.

Radu has also had less pleasant, 'movie-like' experiences, as he was robbed twice and has also been in two or three rough places where he felt a bit afraid, such as Mexico's Juarez, declared the world's most dangerous city in 2010, and in the state of Chihuahua, yet he managed to steer away from trouble.

"The expedition I embarked on is for certain not just an endurance test, it is also an expedition where I try to find myself. Every day I attempt to 'break locks', overcome prejudice, selfishness, fear. This journey allows me to discover myself, to break down my personal barriers, to learn to be myself," Radu Paltineanu was writing at the debut of the expedition in August 2015 on his blog. AGERPRES (RO - author: Marinela Brumar, editor: Oana Popescu; EN - author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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